After nearly 30 years of his overthrow, which marked the implosion of the Soviet Union, the statue of the founder of political terror in the communist state can return to its pedestal in front of the former KGB headquarters in central Moscow .
The city has announced that it will conduct an online survey from February 25 to March 5 to decide whether the famous Lubianka Square will again house the monument to Félix Dzerzhinsky (1877-1926), creator of Tcheká (Emergency Committee).
The Communist Secret Police, which came into being in 1917, morphed into various agencies to suppress dissent in the country, culminating in the dreaded KGB in 1954. After the end of the Soviet Empire in 1991, it was divided and its main branch today the FSB (Federal Security Service).
The alternative around Dzerzhinsky will be a statue of Prince Alexander Nevsky (1221-1263), one of the greatest heroes in Russian history and a saint of the country’s Orthodox Church.
This is not the first time the KGB grandfather has had his comeback proposal – he already won a tiny statue on Petrovka Street, next to the Criminal Police Headquarters, in 2005.
In 2015, the return to Lubianka was almost consummated at the request of the Communist Party. The supporters are now nationalist politicians in the Moscow Civic Chamber, an advisory body to the municipal legislature and executive.
If the idea succeeds, it will be a movement of enormous historical symbolism.
On August 22, 1991, a crowd took to the streets of Moscow, following the defeat of the hard-line coup by the KGB and the armed forces to remove reformist Mikhail Gorbatchov from power.
The crowd went straight to Lubianka Square, which since 1958 housed the 6-meter-high and 14-ton bronze colossus. With ropes, they tried to overturn the statue, without success.
An aide to Graviil Popov, the first democratically elected mayor of Moscow, was at the scene. In his memoir, Alexander Muzikanstski says he wanted to give a legal varnish to the removal of the monument, in addition to fearing for safety in the event of a sudden fall – even today under the square is the metro station of the same. last name.
He ran for town hall and obtained a decree from Popov authorizing the use of five giant cranes for the kidnapping, which took place at 11:28 p.m. that night to the delight of those present. “An era has ended here,” wrote the assistant.
The world was astonished by the dizzying sequence of events. The Soviet Union had started to collapse in practice in 1989, after the political opening promoted by Gorbachov in 1985.
That year, the Berlin Wall had fallen, a symbol of the division between communist and capitalist Europe, and in 1990 Germany would be re-established. Moscow’s Communist satellite regimes fell like cards, until the movement reached the matrix of the empire, starting with the Baltic states.
In 1991, the insistence on independence for Ukraine, the second most important republic in the union, undermined Gorbachev’s authority once and for all.
The conservatives attempted a failed coup, the president resumed his post, but the process of dismantling Soviet institutions was rampant and the fall of the statue of the father of repression was the most obvious sign.
In the past, the monuments of the founder of the Soviet Union, Vladimir Lenin (1877-1924) had fallen in places like Ukraine, but Dzerzhinsky was an icon in the center of power. The statue was moved to an area west of the Kremlin, on the banks of the Moscow River and next to Górki Park.
Gradually she began to receive the company of other demolished people in the capital, and today about 700 monuments are located in the pleasant Sculpture Park – the Russian solution to the question of what to do with the statues of now unwanted people, a recurring problem in the West. .
Dzerzhinsky’s eventual return is also a reminder of the Russian story arc of recent years. The liberal disorder of the 1990s, which drove the country to savage capitalism and the misery of the people, was replaced by the promise of order under Putin, who took over the presidency in 1999 and the presidency in 2000.
Putin, a KGB lieutenant colonel operating in East Germany, was director of the FSB, the historic successor to Dzerzhinsky’s Chekhá, before going to the Kremlin. A caste of political leaders in the country belongs to the group of siloviki, the “hard ones”, evacuated from the country’s security system.
For Putin’s critics, the siloviki have even more power than in Soviet times, when the repressive structures responded to the Communist Party. Supporters of the president consider reality more nuanced and see only a relative influence.
Either way, in 2014 Putin reverted to the old Soviet name of an elite police unit, the Dzerzhinsky Division. The leader’s policy is to glorify not communism itself, but certain aspects of the Soviet state that guaranteed him the role of superpower during the Cold War.
The obvious idea is to seek association with the geopolitical resurgence of Russia in its government.
It may be just a coincidence, but Dzerzhinsky’s eventual restoration comes at a time of negative evidence from the FSB, his heir. The agency, with a long history of political crime charges, is now held responsible for the unsuccessful poisoning of opponent Alexei Navalni.