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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

City Picks 18 New Monuments

The Moscow City Duma has given preliminary approval to a list of 18 new monuments deemed worthy of gracing the city's skyline.

Some of the men set to be immortalized include poet Bulat Okudzhava, historian Nikolai Karamzin, writer Ivan Turgenev, artist Vasily Surikov and French writer Alexandre Dumas, Duma Deputy Alexander Krutov said in an interview Monday.

Another proposal foresees replacing the monument to Moscow's founder Yury Dolgoruky across from City Hall with one to 19th-century General Mikhail Skobolev, and moving Dolgoruky to the spot in the Kremlin where a statue of Lenin once stood. Dolgoruky's outstretched hand would then point to the place where the city originated, instead of the mayor's office and a food store, Krutov said.

The City Duma is set to hold a final vote on the list May 3, but it estimated the cost of designing and building the monuments approved last week at 270 million rubles, 180 million of which is to come from the municipal budget.

Moscow may be the only city in the world where monument selection is governed by law, Krutov said.

The legislation was introduced after a storm of protest blew up in 1997 when Zurab Tsereteli's 60-meter sculpture of Peter the Great dwarfing a sailing ship appeared on the Moscow River. Distraught protesters lobbied to remove it and, when that failed, to at least regulate the selection process.

The law, enacted by the City Duma in 1998, envisaged a permanent commission comprising 15 artists, academics and architects responsible for ensuring the sanctity of the city skyline.

The commission assesses proposals for monuments, which may be submitted by essentially anyone. Its shortlist must endure the scrutiny of Moscow's architecture and culture committees, before submission to the Duma.

Krutov, who worked on developing the law, said the process was "specially designed to be slow and deliberate -because a monument is meant to stand forever."

The commission is also responsible for approving the site of any monuments presented as gifts to the city.

"You may love elephants," Krutov said, "but if you live in a two-room apartment and someone gives you an elephant, your family should have the right not to keep it there."