A mystery at Manezhnaya. How Zhukov statues replaced each other in Moscow

The story of different monuments to Marshal Georgy Zhukov appearing at Manezhnaya Square in Moscow has finally come to its end. However, nobody still can tell what exactly happened

The original equestrian statue of Soviet Marshal Georgy Zhukov by sculptor Vyacheslav Klykov and architect Yury Grigoriev, was installed on May 8, 1995 on the 50th anniversary of the Great Victory. In 2014, an obscure organization named “the Committee in memory of Marshal Zhukov” came forward with the initiative of moving the monument by Klykov to Kaluga Region and replacing it with a new statue of the war marshal. However, the initiative was rejected by the Monumental Art Commission of the Moscow City Duma. Although the Russian Union of Veterans supported the initiative, the commission’s decision, however, was not reconsidered in 2015.  

On March, 2020, the Zhukov monument at Manezhnaya Square was suddenly dismantled (cut into several pieces), and a new equestrian statue by unknown sculptors. The press failed to find out who authorized the dismantling; according to Michael Klykov, son of the sculptor, what happened was a “barbaric act against my father’s creation and an act of blasphemy against Marshal Zhukov himself, a historic figure symbolizing our people’s victory in the Great Patriotic War.” Moreover, neither Era Zhukova, Marshal Zhukov’s daughter, nor Moscow central district authorities were informed of the plans.

No government supervision agency ever approved the dismantling, Mikhail Klykov added, as well as no consent from the sculptor’s rightful heirs was received. On the next day, the new Zhukov statue was also dismantled. Aleksey Yemelyanov, head of the Department of Cultural Heritage of Moscow, said that monument restoration had been planned well before, confirming that “no replacement of the monument to Marshal Zhukov is possible.” Later on, mass media found out that the new version of the Zhukov statue was built in the Art Project workshop in 2014. According to its director Yevgeny Korolyov, “this [new] monument was previously at our factory. I had no idea they were going to put it at Manezhnaya Square. They moved it to another factory territory some time ago where it was put at the disposal of the project managers.” 

On April 24, 2020, the original Marshal Zhukov monument by Klykov was back at the square. No one knows either the current location of the version made by Art Project, or names of the project managers mentioned by Korolyov.

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