Robespierre Monument

The Robespierre Monument being unveiled on 3 November 1918, three days prior to its destruction

The Robespierre Monument (Russian: Памятник Робеспьеру) was one of the first monuments erected in the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (later part of the Soviet Union), raised on 3 November 1918 – just ahead of the first anniversary of the October Revolution, which had brought the Bolsheviks to power.[1] It depicted Maximilien de Robespierre, a prominent figure of the French Revolution. Located in Alexander Garden, it had been designed by the sculptor Beatrice Yuryevna Sandomierz (Russian: Беатриса Юрьевна Сандомирская). Created as part of the "monumental propaganda" plan,[1] the monument was commissioned by Vladimir Lenin, who in an edict referred to Robespierre as a "Bolshevik avant la lettre".[2] It was only one of several planned statues depicting French revolutionaries – others were to be made of Georges Danton, François-Noël Babeuf and Jean-Paul Marat, although only the one of Danton was ever completed. Another, also featuring Robespierre, was raised in Petrograd.[3]

Created in the context of the ongoing Russian Civil War and with the country in a state of war communism, there were few materials available to make the statue.[4] Lacking bronze or marble, the monument was instead constructed using concrete, with hollow pipes running through it.[5] This design proved frail, lasting only a few days. On the morning of 7 November only a pile of rubble remained.[5] Over the following days different newspapers supplied varying versions as to why it collapsed, with Znamya Trudovoi Kommuny and others saying it was the work of "criminal" (counter-revolutionary) hands, and Izvestia stating the statue's demise was caused by improper construction.[5][3]

See also


  1. 1 2 Von Geldern, James (1993). Bolshevik Festivals, 1917-1920. Oakland: University of California Press. p. 83. ISBN 052-007-690-7.
  2. Jordan, David P. (2013). Revolutionary Career of Maximilien Robespierre. New York City: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 147-672-571-3.
  3. 1 2 Schoenfeld, Gabriel (1995). Schwab, Gail M.; Jeanneney, John R., eds. The French Revolution of 1789 and Its Impact. Santa Barbara: Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 286. ISBN 031-329-339-2.
  4. Dunn, Susan (2000). Sister Revolutions: French Lightning, American Light. London: Macmillan Publishers. p. 169. ISBN 142-992-369-5.
  5. 1 2 3 Bean, Jennifer M.; Horak, Laura; Kapse, Anupama, eds. (2014). Silent Cinema and the Politics of Space. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. p. 89. ISBN 025-301-507-3.

Coordinates: 55°45′13″N 37°36′54″E / 55.7537°N 37.6149°E / 55.7537; 37.6149

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