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A Russian billionaire wants to buy America’s contested sculptures

Written by Oscar Netherlands, CNN

A Russian billionaire offered to buy two controversial sculptures that protesters wanted to be removed from US cities because of their disturbing ties to racism and colonialism.

Businessman Rus Filatov’s Art Russe Foundation, collecting and preserving Soviet-era art, said he was willing to buy the depictions of Theodore Roosevelt and settler Alexander Baranov, both of which left a “positive mark” in Russia. .

The two sculptures, Black Lives Matter protests, face hundreds of calls in America after sparking nationwide debates about the memory of various historical figures. Filatov’s foundation hopes to bring them to St. Petersburg to preserve their “cultural and historical heritage”.

“We have deep respect and appreciation for the individuals who have contributed to the development of Russia and are associated with the history of our country,” the spokesperson of the Art Russe Foundation said in an e-mail.

“Both the 26th President of the USA, Theodore Roosevelt, and the governor of Russian settlements in North America, Alexander Baranov, were statesmen who left a positive mark in Russian history. Therefore, we see the need to preserve their memory for future generations.”

Andrey Filatov Credit: Georges Gobet / AFP / Getty Images

Confronting protests

Roosevelt’s statue, which is now located in front of the American Museum of Natural History in New York, has been faced with vandalism for a long time and calls for an Indian man and Black man to be lifted due to the US president standing at his feet. .

Theodore Roosevelt Equestrian Statue located in front of the American Museum of Natural History.

Theodore Roosevelt Equestrian Statue located in front of the American Museum of Natural History. Credit: CLARY / AFP / AFP via TIMOTHY A. Getty Images

Office of New York Mayor Bill de Blasio Approved in June He said that the statue will be demolished, saying that the non-white figures are depicted as “submissive and racially low”. No details about Filonov’s future will come when the offer is made public.

Roosevelt’s place in Russian history stems from his role in conducting a treaty between Russia and Japan in 1904 and ends the one and a half years of war in countries. His role in the agreement, known as the Portsmouth Treaty, won him the Nobel Peace Prize in 1906.

By the way, Alexander Baranov was once a merchant who ruled Russia America – parts of North America that belonged to Russia and were sold to the USA in Alaska Purchase. A bronze statue of Baranov has been standing in the city of Sitka since 1989, but the Indian communities have caused calls for its removal.

one petition Calling it to be signed by more than 2,500 people defines him as “a colonist who came to Sitka in Alaska without inviting him to enrich his company and his country” and accuses him of directing him to an armed attack. local Tlingit people. “
Sculpture, Alexander Ivanovich Baranov, Sitka, Baranof Island, Alaska, USA

Sculpture, Alexander Ivanovich Baranov, Sitka, Baranof Island, Alaska, USA Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

To show art to ‘people’

Ukrainian-born Filatov made his fortune in the transportation and port industries, According to Forbeshe estimated his net worth at $ 1.1 billion last year. In 2013, he founded the investment company Tuloma and became the owner of the private rail operator Globaltrans.

The 48-year-old is also known as a chess player and acts as the head of the chess federation of Russia.

In 2012, Filatov founded the Art Russe Foundation to collect Russian art – primarily from the Soviet period (1917-1991) – later on lending museums and galleries

“When the Soviet Union collapsed, a large number of great works of art were drawn from the country to the west and elsewhere.” CNN said that year. “My job is to buy these works and show them to people.”

The Art Russe Foundation has confirmed that it has written to the Sitka City Hall, the American Museum of Natural History, and that it has written unspecified “New York City officials” to express its interest in the two sculptures. Instead, the spokesperson did not say how many bids were made or will be offered, stating that the “monetary value of the artworks are subject to negotiation”.

The spokesperson of the Russian city St. He added that St. Petersburg would be the “suitable host city” for statues.

Abbott Hopkins

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