The court dismissed the claim of a resident of the Amur region, Andrei Guk, in which he sought the dismantling of the monument to the writer Alexander Solzhenitsyn in Vladivostok. A memorial structure in honor of a writer “with a very controversial heritage”, installed on Korabelnaya Embankment in 2015 on the initiative of the mayor of the seaside capital Igor Pugachev, according to the plaintiff, should not be adjacent to monuments to the military exploits of Primorye residents. The court's decision will be appealed to the appellate court.
On December 8, the Leninsky District Court of Vladivostok made a decision on the claim of a resident of the Amur region, Andrei Guk, who demanded to dismantle the monument to the writer Alexander Solzhenitsyn in Vladivostok. “An administrative case was considered based on an administrative claim against the administration of Vladivostok, the department of architecture and construction of objects of the Vladivostok city district of the administration of Vladivostok about declaring the installation of the image of A. I. Solzhenitsyn illegal, declaring the decision (of the city authorities on this matter) illegal.— “Kommersant”), imposing a duty (to dismantle.— “Kommersant”). The claim was denied. The decision has not entered into legal force,” the court’s press service told Kommersant, without disclosing the reasoning.
The administrative defendants in the court were the city administration, the city duma, and the department of urban planning and architecture. Vladivostok Sea Container Terminal LLC (VMCT), whose funds were used to erect the monument, received the status of an interested party.
Writer Alexander Solzhenitsyn was accused of treason in February 1974, deprived of Soviet citizenship and expelled from the USSR. After that, he lived and worked in the USA. In May 1994, he returned to Russia, flying from the USA to Magadan, and then visited Vladivostok. From the capital of Primorye, Alexander Solzhenitsyn went to Moscow by train. In 2006, Mr. Solzhenitsyn was awarded the State Prize of the Russian Federation “for outstanding achievements in the field of humanitarian work.” The writer died in Moscow in 2008 at the age of 89.
The monument to the Nobel Prize winner in literature and dissident was erected on Korabelnaya Embankment in Vladivostok on the initiative of the then mayor of the city Igor Pushkarev (in 2019 was found guilty in committing crimes under Art. 290, 291, 204, 285 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (receiving and giving a bribe, mediation in this, commercial bribery and abuse of power) and was sentenced to 15 years in a maximum security colony). The installation of the monument was carried out by Vladivostok Sea Container Terminal LLC. The opening in September 2015 was attended by the writer’s son Ermolai.
The local public perceived the memorial ambiguously - according to testimony, mass media, offensive signs and inscriptions appeared. In particular, Communist Party activist Maxim Shinkarenko, who said that “Solzhenitsyn is a traitor to his country, an anti-Soviet and a Russophobe,” left a “Judas” sign there. Maxim Shinkarenko was charged with petty hooliganism (Article 20.1 of the Administrative Code of the Russian Federation), but then the court closed the case “for lack of corpus delicti.” In 2021, already in the status of a deputy of the Vladivostok Duma (convocation 2017–2022), Mr. Shinkarenko sent an appeal to Mayor Shestakov about the need to demolish the monument to the writer Solzhenitsyn, but the city authorities refused to satisfy this demand.
Tynda resident Andrey Guk filed a lawsuit against the Vladivostok authorities in September. The plaintiff explained that the sculpture must be dismantled, since it is dedicated to “a controversial figure in modern Russia” and should not be adjacent to monuments to the exploits of Primorye residents in the Great Patriotic War. “The discrediting activities of A. I. Solzhenitsyn consist in the formation of well-known destructive and false statements that have become myths of public consciousness. The myth about “tens and hundreds of millions of innocent victims of the communist regime,” says the lawsuit (the text is available to Kommersant). Next, the plaintiff gives several examples of the writer’s theses that do not correspond to reality, including about the number of prisoners in the camps and the number of losses in the Great Patriotic War.
According to the plaintiff, he does not agree with the decision of the trial court. “I will file an appeal,” he told Kommersant.