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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

The Mystery of the Underground Sculpture

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Not long ago, I arranged to meet a friend of mine by the sculpture of Gorky, located in the crossing between metro stations Tverskaya and Chekhovskaya. My friend was late and I, through lack of anything better to do, started to examine the sculpture in pursuit of the sculptor's signature. Not having any luck, I turned to a theater ticket seller, who had her stall next to the sculpture.

"Do you know who the author of this sculpture is?" I asked.

"No." She replied.

"Has anybody ever asked you this question before?" I then asked.

"Many have, but I don't know the answer and nor does anyone else who works here seem to know."

Just then, a boy, who was passing by with his mother, said: "Mama, look, it's Lenin as a young man!"

"That's not Lenin," his mother said disapprovingly, "it's Chekhov. Look at the sign over the escalator, it says 'Chekhovskaya'."

"Prove it," the boy demanded capriciously and dragged his mother up to the sculpture.

"That's Bunin," muttered a passer-by on hearing the woman.

But nowhere on the sculpture was there any information about the sculpture or its author.

I went up to a woman sitting in the glass box by the escalator and asked her whether she knew who the author of the sculpture was. The woman took her eyes off the escalator for a moment and said that she did not. "And who is it supposed to be?" I asked.

"Gorky. Tverskaya metro used to be called Gorkovskaya, and when they opened the crossing to metro Chekhovskaya, they brought the sculpture here from somewhere or other."

I thanked the woman and went down the escalator to Chekhovskaya metro, where I repeated my question to a station official.

"I don't know." The official replied irritably.

When I got home, I called the Metro newspaper, thinking that they would probably be able to answer my question.

No luck. As they explained, the only connection they have with the metro is that their paper is distributed at metro stations.

So, I called the metro museum.

Try calling the chief architect at Metrogiprotrans, they told me.

When I called, they redirected me to the Gorky museum. But nobody there was able to help either.

So, it seems, the nameless sculpture will remain that way. For some, it is Chekhov; for others, the young Lenin; and for others, it is Bunin. But, in fact, it is Maxim Gorky in a light coat and kersey boots, with a small book in his hand -- probably one of his first works. And the author of this wonderful sculpture, for some reason, is a well-kept secret.

Vladislav Schnitzer is a pensioner and journalist living in Moscow.