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UNESCO asking to put off installation of new monument close to Moscow Kremlin

January 22, 4:25 UTC+3 MOSCOW
Although UNESCO's decision has the character of a recommendation, history does not know a single case where Russia's practical steps would contravene such recommendations, Bandarin said
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MOSCOW, January 22. /TASS/. UNESCO Deputy Director General Francesco Bandarin has asked the Russian authorities to put off the installation of a monument to Grand Duke Vladimir, the baptizer of Kievan Rus, on Borovitskaya Square in Moscow a stone's throw from the Kremlin until the UNESCO World Heritage Committee discusses the issue at a conference in June.

He told reporters on Thursday after a discussion of the monument's design there should be no hurry with the installation and the time before June was to be used for a comprehensive review of the situation around the project instead of just simply collecting the 'yes' and 'no' opinions about the monument itself.

Although UNESCO's decision has the character of a recommendation, history does not know a single case where Russia's practical steps would contravene such recommendations, Bandarin said.

He recalled that Russia was a signatory to the World Heritage Convention and it was abiding by its provisions, although UNESCO was aware of how much time this observance was taking up.

Considering the importance of the object, UNESCO realized all the seriousness of its decision and that is why the World Heritage Committee will continue the process of scrutiny in June.

Bandarin said the monument to Grand Duke Vladimir of Kiev was a Russian Orthodox once and that is why the UNESCO officials and experts would like to discuss its link to Borovitskaya Square. He stressed the importance of permanent attention to the criteria that made it possible to put the Kremlin on the list of global cultural heritage facilities.

Along with it, UNESCO does not have objections against the changes that may increase the value of a world heritage site, he said.

The problem of position of the monument is very acute in case of the monument to Grand Duke Vladimir and it should not be limited to open voting in the Internet because such problems are never resolved by open voting, as decisions on them should be taken in a different context and by other methods, Bandarin said.

He offered to consider the problems in all the entirety of its aspects and in the context of its significance for Russia and for the whole world.

Earlier reports said the Russian Society of Military History planned installing the monument by the Eastern Orthodox Pascha (Easter) that falls on May 1 this year.

However, the Deputy Minister of Culture, Grigory Pirumov said on Thursday the data of installation was still under discussion.

The possible site for placing the monument to Grand Duke Vladimir on the occasion of the millennium since his passing away caused a resounding effect in society, including protests from experts and activists.

As a result of polemic voting at the site of the Russian Society of Military History, Borovitskaya Square that adjoins the Kremlin in the southwest was chosen as the prospective site.

The foundation stone ceremony took place on November 3, 2015, and the monument itself was to be unveiled this spring.

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