Ostrovsky monument

Located outside the Maly Theatre is a statue of one of the most important Russian playwrights of the 19th century, Alexander Ostrovsky.Ostrovsky is depicted sitting in an armchair in a state of deep creative meditation and his right hand holds a pencil while in his left hand there is a piece of paper.

The project to build the monument emerged in 1899, when The Society of Russian Dramatic Art and Opera Composers commenced fundraising activities. Unfortunately they failed to implement the project.

In March 1923, the Director of the Maly Theatre, People's Artists of the Republic Alexander Ivanovich Yuzhin petitioned to the Council of People's Commissars to have a monument erected to mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of the playwright. The Soviet government approved this proposal and allocated the necessary funds. The Jubilee Committee to honour the memory of Alexander Ostrovsky was elected, who "announced the start of the All-Russian competition for the construction of the monument to Alexander Ostrovsky in Moscow. The shape of the monument is a figure on the pedestal. The best projects will be rewarded: One award of 1000 rubles; Two Awards of 750 rubles; Three awards of 500 rubles each; Four awards of 250 rubles in gold. The address of the committee: Maly Theatre» (Izvestia newspaper, April 12, 1923).

Those days it was decided to place the future monument in front of the Maly Theatre, near the entrance and a solemn laying of the foundation-stone of the monument took place. This is how the event was chronicled in the Izvestia newspaper: «Yesterday, at 11 o'clock in the morning on Sverdlov Square (previously Theatrical) gathered all Moscow theatre companies along with representatives from literary and theatrical organizations. The company of the Maly Theatre left the theatre building, carrying the banner with a text on it saying: «Maly Theatre To Ostrovsky. Make way to Lubim Tortsov,who is approaching». A. V. Lunacharsky who opened the ceremony said: «This monument shall keep the legacy of Ostrovsky and shall become the source of the new theatre life». A granite slab was established on the place of the future monument with an inscription «Place of a monument to Ostrovsky». The chairman of the Anniversary committee A. I. Yuzhin said: «The Maly Theatre wholeheartedly wishes that the mighty figure of Ostrovsky guards the Maly Theatre» (Izvestia newspaper, April 14, 1923).

Six years have passed. The project of sculptor N. Andreev was the only one that caused the almost unanimous approval of all committee members. The monument was being cast in bronze by master Miglinik. The weight of the monument is more than one and a half tons. The pedestal of dark green diorite was brought from Finland and weighs about 12 tons. The monument was built in 1928 which is inscribed on the pedestal, but the official opening took place on May 27, 1929 at 12 o'clock in the afternoon.

At that time, the Fifth All-Union Congress of Soviets was held in Moscow and the delegates to the congress, headed by Mikhail Kalinin, took part in the celebration. Alexander Yuzhin was no longer alive, and Academician P.N. Sakulin became the chairman of the public committee for the construction of the monument. Speeches and talks of those present were reflected in the newspapers (Vechernyaya Moskva, May 27, 1929, No. 118, Izvestia, May 28, 1929, No. 119). It is interesting to remark that the monument came out 20 thousand rubles cheaper than expected to the state.

When opening the monument P.N.Sakulin announced the provision of the Presidium of the Moscow City Council on transfer of the monument to Ostrovsky «under the jurisdiction of the Moscow Maly Theatre».

In light of this provision the deed of conveyance has been drawn up, which is now stored in A. N. Ostrovsky's Memorial estate in Shchelykovo (inv. No. 601) published in the present volume for the first time.

The text is written in ink on a thick paper, without any stamps and seal and is signed by P.N. Sakulin, A.A. Yablochkina, A.V. Lunacharskiy, N. Kashin. Two signatures could not be deciphered.


The committee to manage construction of Alexander Ostrovsky monument with the permission of the Presidium of the Moscow Soviet of Workers ', Peasants' and Red Army’s Deputies of May 22, 1929, No. 7504, passes the now opened monument under the supervision and in storage of the State Moscow Maly Theatre, in which this act is drawn up.


May 27, 1929

Chairman of the Committee Y. SAKULIN

Comrades of the Chairman A. YABLOCHKINA

Honorary member of the Presidium A.LUNACHARSKIY

For the Treasurer of the Committee (nr.)

Secretary of the Committee N.KASHIN

E. Khmelevskaya, «The Maly Theatre of 1824-1974»., Volume 2, p. 610-611.