MOSCOW, September 24. /TASS/. On Thursday, Russian Presidential Aide Vladimir Medinsky chimed in on an Alaskan town’s move to dismantle and relocate a monument to Alexander Baranov, who was the first governor of Russian North America in the late 18th - early 19th century, from the central park of the city of Sitka. Medinsky excoriated the move calling it an abandonment of one’s own history.
On June 23, a group of Sitkans petitioned to remove the sculpture of Baranov from the city center, arguing that indigenous people might find the statue offensive. On July 14, the Sitka city council approved a resolution to relocate the monument to the city’s museum. On September 24, municipal authorities began work on dismantling and moving the statue.
"I regret that the monument to Alexander Baranov in Alaska was struck by the current storm of the US running away from its own history. To those who forgot or seek to forget history, I will clarify that Baranov is not an oppressor, racist or slave owner, but an outstanding entrepreneur, a man who developed civilized trade and humanitarian relations between Russia and America," Medinsky emphasized, according to the Russian Military Historical Society.
Medinsky highlighted that a plaque on the statue immortalized Baranov’s own words: “That we may dwell in amity and peace forever in this region.”
"Apparently, someone disagrees with him strongly. So, I believe we should look into immortalizing Baranov’s memory in our own country," the aide noted.
Alexander Baranov (1747-1819) was a Russian statesman, entrepreneur, trader and merchant. In 1799, Baranov was appointed by the then chartered Russian-American Company as its Chief Manager and effectively as the first governor of Russian America. In that same year, he established the fort of Novo-Arkhangelsk (the city of Sitka today), moving the administrative center of Russian America there from the city of Irkutsk. In 1812, he founded Fort Ross, the southernmost settlement of then Russian America. The monument to Alexander Baranov, created by Joan Bugbee-Jackson, was installed in downtown Sitka, Alaska, in 1989.