A monument to the son of Vladimir Monomakh, the founder of Moscow, Yury Dolgoruky, was erected on Sovetskaya Square opposite the Moscow Soviet on the day of the headline-making and pompous celebration of Moscow’s 800th anniversary, which makes sense. The place is great, as there was a monument to General Skobelev before the revolution, which was then replaced with the October Revolution obelisk. The obelisk was taken down just before the war, as it fell into disrepair and no longer matched the appearance of the square – it was too small.
The sculptor Sergey Orlov cast an epic bogatyr rather than Yury Dolgoruky who had never made it to portraits, as you know. Nonetheless, there were no big artistic problems other than a semi-anecdote about Dolgoruky’s horse gender. Rumor has it, Stalin was not happy with the mare and the sculptor had to urgently add parts that would have made it a stallion.
However, there were those who did not approve the completed monument. The writer Ilya Erenburg, for example, said, “I saw Phidias’ statues and every morning I see the Dolgoruky monument out of my window. If this is progress in art, I am ready to walk out of this window.”
The groundbreaking ceremony gathered the academician Vavilov and the poet Tikhonov who delivered solemn speeches, Pravda said laconically the next morning.