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Russian art collector seeks to buy NYC’s Teddy Roosevelt statue, move it to St. Petersburg

The monument is going to be taken down in New York in line with the decision of the mayor’s office
A statue of Theodore Roosevelt on horseback flanked by a Native American man and an African man in New York AP Photo/Kathy Willens
A statue of Theodore Roosevelt on horseback flanked by a Native American man and an African man in New York
© AP Photo/Kathy Willens

MOSCOW, July 9. /TASS/. The Art Russe Foundation headed by Russian entrepreneur Andrei Filatov has put forward an offer to New York City Hall officials to buy a statue of the 26th US President Theodore Roosevelt that is due to be removed and place it in St. Petersburg, Russia, Filatov told TASS on Thursday.

The foundation’s press service earlier said that it had received no response from New York City authorities to this proposal. "First, we need to buy it and then to erect [the monument] in St. Petersburg," Filatov said, pledging that the foundation would wait for an answer however long it may take.

Earlier, Art Russe said it was ready to purchase the statue of Theodore Roosevelt and Alexander Baranov, which are slated to be dismantled soon. Baranov served as a governor of Russian settlements in North America in the late 18th - early 19th centuries. The letters containing this proposal have been sent to authorities in New York and Sitka, Alaska.

The foundation notes that the 26th President of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt, was an important statesman whose legacy left a “positive mark” on Russia. Given the historic and artistic value of this monument, its protection and preservation are "of critical importance for future generations."

Commenting on the fate of the Baranov monument, Sitka’s municipal administrator John Leach assured the foundation in a letter that this issue would be solved through a public process, constructively, in a civilized manner and with respect for history regarding this delicate issue.

Proposals on toppling monuments

Earlier, The New York Times reported that the statue to Theodore Roosevelt, located in front of the entrance to the American Museum of Natural History in New York, would be torn down because the museum’s proposal had been approved by the mayor’s office. The museum’s representatives stressed that the monument would be toppled because of its "hierarchical composition." The monument features Roosevelt on horseback in the center, flanked by an African man and a Native American man on foot.

Various citizens, activists among them, earlier proposed pulling down the monument to Baranov in the historic center in Sitka, which used to be called Novo-Arkhangelsk until 1867 and was the capital of Russian settlements. They addressed a session of the city council on June 23, saying that the statue could hurt the feelings of indigenous peoples.

The Art Russe Foundation was created in 2012 and has one of the biggest collections of Soviet art, which includes the works of distinguished artists of 1917-1991.