128 statues of the monument sculpted in 1862 by the artists Mikeshin and Schroeder personify Russia’s history. Gigarama’s 2020 technology is a new way of viewing the sculpted history of the Russian state.
The Millennium of Russia monument was erected in the kremlin (the citadel) of Novgorod the Great in 1862 to honor the millennium of the Russian state that followed the “summoning of the Vikings” to Ancient Rus.
It was created by a team of sculptors headed by artist Mikhail Mikeshin, who came up with the conception of the monument. Mikeshin secured his victory in the contest announced by Russian Czar Alexander II by depicting Russia’s history in its development.
The monument’s shape reflected the ideas of autocracy and civil freedoms whose combination, as the reformist czar believed, would profess the future of the Russian state: the monument’s silhouette resembles the Cap of the Grand Prince of Kiev Vladimir Monomakh that symbolizes monarchic power, and there is a bell whose ringing summoned a veche (a popular assembly) in the Republic of Novgorod.
The construction of the monument whose height is 15.7 meters and perimeter is 27.5 meters cost 500,000 rubles, of which 150,000 rubles were private donations.
The monument survived the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution. But in the Soviet era, it was seen as a symbol of czarist autocracy, and on public holidays it was hidden under plywood with Communist slogans.
In 1944, during World War II, retreating Nazi Germans dismantled the monument and tried to take it away - unsuccessfully.
In 1944, the monument was restored and reopened, as the Communist government reconsidered its attitude towards it – such czarist Russia’s luminaries as 18th-century general Alexander Suvorov, 19th-century Prince Mikhail Kutuzov, 18th-century field marshal Pyotr Rumyantsev and 19th-century general Prince Pyotr Bagration could become symbolic figures that unite the Soviet people. The monument was restored in 1995.
The monument is topped by a composition symbolizing the idea of Orthodox Christianity’s primacy over the state and the secular world. The cross embodies Christianity, the globe embodies the world.
An angel holding the cross blesses Russia, depicted as a kneeling woman in peasant garb. She leans upon a shield with a double-headed eagle from Russia’s coat of arms.
Around the spherical orb are six groups of sculptures that consist of 17 tall figures, each 3 meters high.
The figures symbolize key periods in Russia’s history: the 862 summoning of Viking Prince Rurik, the conversion of Ancient Rus to Orthodox Christianity, the 1380 battle of Kulikovo between the armies of Moscow and the Golden Horde, the centralization of power under Grand Prince Ivan III of Moscow, the beginning of the Romanov dynasty in 1613 and the proclamation of the Russian Empire under Peter the Great in 1721.
Rurik wears a spiked helmet and armor of a Russian warrior and Varangian (Viking) prince.
The year of the summoning, 6370 Anno Mundi, is 862 AD. The date is written in the “letter figures” of the ancient Russian language similar to Roman numerals.
To the right of the Varangian prince stands Veles, an ancient Slavic god who symbolizes paganism. Rurik looks south-wise, reflecting his intention to go to Kiev and seize it.
Vladimir stands on the fragment of a broken pagan idol portraying god Perun, and forces a Slav to throw it in the river.
On the other side, a newly-baptized woman is getting her infant christened and looks at the Orthodox cross with three crossbeams, a symbol of new faith. The group is oriented towards the Byzantine Empire, where Orthodox Christianity came from.
Moscow Prince Dmitry Donskoy won the first victory over the Golden Horde’s army in the Battle of Kulikovo in 1380.
He is holding a bunchuk, a Golden Horde flag with a Muslim crescent and a horse tail, in one hand, and a six-flanged mace in the other.
The prince is standing on the leg of a Golden Horde warrior, prostrate but still unbroken and armed. The group looks eastward – for another century, the Horde will rule Russia from there.
Ivan III centralized Russian lands around Moscow by conquering Novgorod the Great. After the 1480 Great Stand on the Ugra River, Russia gained independence from the Horde.
At the prince’s feet are his defeated enemies – a Lithuanian knight with a broken sword and a shoulder strap shaped like a lion’s head. A Horde warrior bows to the prince passing the orb, a symbol of power to him. Facing the orb is the figure of a Siberian hunter who holds the Earth. The group faces Moscow.
In the Time of Troubles (1598 – 1613), the Zemsky Sobor (“the assembly of the land,” a proto-parliament) elected Mikhail Romanov as czar, and he went on to found a new dynasty.
The young czar stands in the background wearing a mantle and holding an orb. The leader of a volunteer army that fought against Polish invaders, Prince Dmitry Pozharsky holds a sabre and the other leader Kuzma Minin hands an orb and the Cap of Monomakh to the czar. The group looks westward – the danger from Poland is still strong.
After Russia won the Northern War against Sweden in 1721, the Russian Senate proclaimed Czar Peter the Great an Emperor, and decreed that his state should be called The Russian Empire.
A statue of Peter portrays him dressed as a colonel of the Preobrazhensky regiment with an ermine mantle in his hands. In front of him is a defeated Swedish soldier with the broken staff of a torn banner. An angel’s figure towers over Peter showing him the way to St. Petersburg, Russia’s new capital.
109 figures are united in 4 groups: the military, artists, enlighteners and statesmen – a chronicle of Russia shown through its key figures.
Emperor Alexander II backed the conception of the monument’s author Mikhail Mikeshin “to portray all the renowned figures who contributed to the exaltation of Russia on this bas-relief.”
The list of names was controversial and triggered a public debate throughout Russia, but it was the emperor who finalized the list.
The high-relief of 36 figures on the monument’s northeastern side begins with warrior Prince Svyatoslav.
It includes rulers, generals, statesmen and heroes from among the commons that date back to Ancient Russia, the Principality of Moscow, the Great Duchy of Lithuania and Rus, Muscovy and the Russian Empire.
Svyatoslav Igorevich became the Grand Prince of Kiev in 945. A famous warrior. Subdued the Eastern Slavic tribe of Vyatichi. Destroyed the Khanate of Khazars. Waged wars against Bulgarians and, later, Byzantine Greeks.
The prince of Toropets. Known as a lucky general who led successful campaigns against the Polovets nomads. He took part in the Battle on the Kalka River, in which Russian forces were defeated by Mongols.
The Prince of Volyn and Galicia, son of Prince Roman Mstislavovich. In 1223, he took part in the Battle of Kalka.
Prince of Pskov, general and descendant of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania, he was baptized as Timofey and ruled what is now the western Russian city of Pskov in 1266-1299. Under him, the Principality of Pskov became virtually independent from Novgorod the Great.
Prince of Pereyaslavl, Novgorod the Great, Grand Prince of Vladimir in 1252 – 1263. In the 1240 Battle of Neva he defeated Swedes, and later gained the sobriquet Nevsky. On April 5, 1242 he defeated the knights of the Livonian Order in the Battle on the Ice on the Chudskoye Lake (known in the West as Lake Peipus).
Prince of Tver and Grand Prince of Vladimir in 1304 – 1307. He contested the princes of Moscow for the Golden Horde’s jarlig for the Grand Principality of Vladimir.
Grand Prince of Vladimir and Moscow. He strengthened Moscow and challenged the Golden Horde’s rule over Russia in the Battle of Kulikovo.
The Grand Duke of Lithuania, Duke of Trokai, son of Grand Prince Gediminas, father of Vitautas, brother and de-facto co-ruler of Algirdas.
Boyar and general of Moscow Grand Prince Ivan III.
Boyar and general of Ivan IV The Terrible. In 1572, he won a decisive battle against Crimean Khan Devlet I Giray in the Battle of Molodi.
Prince, boyar, famous general in the reigns of Ivan III and Vasily III, renowned for conquering Khlynov (Vyatka) and Smolensk.
One of the leaders of opposition to Ivan III in Novgorod the Great, she advocated for Novgorod’s independence from Moscow and rapprochement with Lithuania.
Cossack leader, conqueror of Siberia.
Stateman and military leader in the Time of Troubles 1598 – 1613, a national hero at the time of the Polish-Lithuanian intervention who defeated the armies of False Dmitry II, (a second impostor czar who claimed to be the son of Ivan the Terrible and was backed by Poles and Lithuanians. He was also known as the Thief of Tushino).
Prince, national hero, statesman, general, head of the Second Volunteer Army that liberated Moscow from the Polish invaders in 1612.
Organizer and co-leader of the Second Volunteer Army in 1611-12 during Russia’s fight against the Polish-Lithuanian and Swedish invasions, national hero.
Religious leader, politician, cellarer of the Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius, writer and publicist.
Ukrainian statesman, general, getman (elected supreme leader) of the Zaporozhsky Cossack army. He led a Cossack rebellion that made Zaporozhskaya Sech (a Cossack State beyond the cataracts of the Dnieper River) and the Left-Bank Ukraine (Ukrainian regions on the left bank of the Dnieper) part of Russia.
Folk hero, savior of the first Romanov czar during the Time of Troubles in the early 17th century.
Field marshal, diplomat, general in the Russian-Swedish Northern War, count since 1706.
Prince, general, field marshal. Participated in the Azov campaigns and the Northern war. Presided over the War Collegiate (1728 – 1730), Russia’s supreme defense body.
Count, general, field marshal. He was a commander-in-chief during the Seven Year War of 1756 – 63, won the battle of Kunesdorf in which the Russian-Austrian army defeated Prussians. In 1764 – 1771, he was the chief commander of Moscow.
General, statesman, count. In 1727 – 30, he administered St. Petersburg.
General, statesman, companion of Catherine II.
General, field marshal (since 1770), took part in the Seven Year war and the Russian-Turkish wars of the second part of the 18th century.
General, warfare theoretician, Count of Rymnik (since 1789), field marshal since 1794, generalissimo since 1799 since 1799, Prince of Italy.
General, field marshal, prince (since 1815), hero of the Patriotic War of 1812. A descendant of Russified Scottish nobles, he started his service in the Semyonovsky Lifeguard Battalion, where he got his first officer rank.
General, diplomat, count, field marshal, his serene highness. A hero of the Patriotic War of 1812.
Fleet commander, admiral, commanded the Baltic Fleet after 1825.
General, infantry general, count, hero of the Patriotic War of 1812.
General, prince, infantry general, hero of the Patriotic War of 1812, born into the former Georgian royal dynasty of Bagrationi.
General, field marshal, count, participant of the Patriotic War of 1812 and the Russian-Turkish war of 1828 – 1829.
General, field marshal (1829), the Count of Yerevan (1828), His Serene Highness, Count of Warsaw (1831).
Seaman and navy commander, admiral, commander of the Black Sea fleet and one of the discoverers of the Antarctica, a hero of the Patriotic War of 1812.
Navy commander, vice admiral (1852), hero of the Siege of Sevastopol of 1854 – 1855.
Fleet commander, admiral (1855), hero of the Siege of Sevastopol in 1854 – 1855.
16 figures of the second half of the 18th – 19th centuries symbolize the contributions of renowned poets and writers, artists and musicians to Russian culture.
The first in line is the Russian encyclopedist Mikhail Vasilyevich Lomonosov.
The first Russian encyclopedist, poet, artist.
Author, playwright, translator. His best-known works were comedies The Brigadier General (1770) and Young Ignoramus (1782).
Architect, first rector and professor of the Imperial Academy of Arts.
Poet and statesman.
Actor and thespian, creator of Russia’s first permanent theater.
Writer, historian, pioneer of Russian sentimentalism, author of The History of the Russian State, a groundbreaking work in 12 volumes.
Author of fables, publicist, poet, publisher of satirical and educational magazines.
Poet, member of the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences from 1841. One of the founders of Russian romanticism, a pioneer of classic lyrical poems in Russian.
Poet, translator, member of the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences from 1826.
Writer and diplomat.
Poet and writer.
Poet and writer, creator of the modern Russian literary language.
Wrote fiction and plays, poetry, literary criticism, magazine articles.
Composer and pioneer of Russian classical music.
Composer, conductor, singer, educator.
There are 31 figures in the group of illuminators. It begins with Cyril and Methodius, who created the Slavic alphabet.
Among the illuminators are princes and chroniclers, theologists and Orthodox Christian saints, preachers and founders of monasteries who played a significant role in Russia’s history.
Byzantine Greek preachers, brothers, creators of the Old Slavonic alphabet and the Church Slavonic language.
She ruled Ancient Rus in 945—964 before her son, Kiev Prince Svyatoslav, came of age. She was the first Russian ruler to convert to Christianity and was baptized in Constantinople.
Son of Svyatoslav Igorevich, the Grand Prince of Kiev in 980 – 1015. He commenced the conversion of Rus to Christianity “with sword and fire.”
A saint of the Russian Orthodox Church, preacher, bishop of Rostov.
A saint of the Russian Orthodox Church, founder of the Kiev Monastery of Caves.
One of the founders and abbots of the Kiev Monastery of Caves, saint.
Priestmonk of the Kiev Monastery of Caves, martyr.
A monk of the Kiev Monastery of Caves, chronicler, author of the Primary Chronicle.
Founder of the White Lake Monastery.
Bishop of the Russian Orthodox Church, preacher, creator of the Old Permic Script, translator.
Metropolitan of Kiev and all Russia, statesman, diplomat.
Founder of the Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius. According to a legend, he blessed Moscow Grand Prince Dmitry Donskoy before the 1380 Battle of Kulikovo, and dispatched two monks – Peresvet and Oslyabya – with his army.
A bishop of the Greek Orthodox Church, the Metropolitan of Kyiv, Galicia and All of Russia.
Founder of the Solovki monastery, saint.
Religious publicist, writer and translator. An ethnic Greek.
Reverent of the Russian Church, founder of the Solovki monastery.
The Metropolitan of Kyiv and All of Russia, a saint. During his tenure, the Church became autocephalous, independent from the Patriarchate of Constantinople.
Archbishop of Novgorod the Great, Metropolitan of Moscow and All Russia. He greatly influenced the policies of Ivan the Terrible as part of the so-called Chosen Council. He crowned Ivan the Terrible as a czar.
The bishop of Tver, saint, venerated as a miracle worker of Kazan.
A church official, after Moscow’s conquest of the Khanate of Kazan in 1552 he was elected the first archbishop of Kazan.
Prince, military governor of Kiev. He promoted education by publishing books, founding schools and supporting scholars. In 1581, Ivan Fyodorov and Pyotr Mstislavets published the first Bible in Russian in his publishing house.
Patriarch of the Russian Church, author of the 17th-century church reform that led to the Schism and the emergence of Old Believers.
A friend and favorite of Czar Alexey, quartermaster, head of various government departments, illuminator, patron of arts, founder of the Andreevsky Monastery, multiple hospitals, schools and hospices.
The Metropolitan of Rostov and Yaroslavl, a church figure, religious writer, preacher, educator.
The Bishop of Ladoga and then Voroznezh, writer.
Saint, the first bishop of Voronezh and Yelets. He fought against the influence of Old Believers, supported Peter the Great, organized a wharf to build warships, took part in the seizure of Azov from Ottoman Turks.
Archbishop of Belarus, philosopher, educator, theologian and public figure in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and then in the Russian Empire.
Peter the Great’s companion, theologian, writer, poet, mathematician, philosopher, translator, publicist, scholar. Head of the Kiev Academy, the Archbishop of Novgorod, the first vice president of the Most Holy Synod.
The Metropolitan of Moscow and Kolomna, he tried to overcome the church schism by introducing “the unity of faith” that allowed church service based on pre-Schism books. He opened the first “unity of faith” church in Moscow and crowned Alexander I.
The Archbishop of Chersonese and Tavria. Preacher, educator, theologian, member of the Most Holy Synod. During the Crimean War he served in camp churches encouraging the soldiers with his sermons and comforting the dying.
On the eastern side of the monument are the statues of 26 figures whose efforts greatly influenced the domestic and foreign policies of the Russian state.
They include rulers, diplomats, generals, advisors and even the first wife of Czar Ivan the Terrible. The czar is not part of the monument because of his purges and mass executions in the Republic of Novgorod that he unleashed during the terror of Oprichnina in 1570.
Grand Prince of Kiev in 1018–1054. He strengthened the ancient Russian state by having the first book of law – The Russian Truth – compiled, defeating the Pecheneg nomads and arranging dynastic marriages of his children with European rulers.
Prince of Pereyaslavl, Grand Prince of Kiev. During his reign, he stopped the invasions of Polovtsy (also known as Cumans) nomads, had the Primary Chronicle compiled, and added the Chapter of Vladimir Vsevolodovich to the Russian Truth.
Grand Duke, founder of the Gediminid dynasty, established the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and Rus, whose state language was Russian and state religion was Orthodox Christianity.
The Grand Duke of Lithuania, son of Gediminas. He fought to expand the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, and ruled the duchy with his brother Kestutis.
Became the Grand Duke of Lithuania in 1392. Son of Grand Duke Kestutis. All his life, he strove to strengthen his state that included Lithuanian and Russian lands.
The Grand Prince of Moscow in 1462—1505, the Grand Prince of All Russia. He united Russian principalities around Moscow. In 1480, Russia gained independence from the Golden Horde.
Cleric, politician, publicist, one of the leaders of the czar’s Chosen Council. Author or editor of the Domestic Order, a legal code.
Czarina since 1547, Ivan the Terrible’s first wife.
Ivan the Terrible’s ally, quartermaster and general, head of the Petitions Committee, one of the leaders of the Chosen Council.
The Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia since 1606.
Russian czar in 1613 – 1645 elected by the Zemskoy Sobor (the Assembly of the
Land).He founded the Romanov dynasty after the Polish invaders were driven out of Moscow.
In 1619, he became the Patriarch of Moscow and All of Russia. Father of Czar
A boyar, diplomat, head of the Foreign Office during the reign of Alexey
Statesman and diplomat in the reign of Alexey Romanov.
Russian czar in 1645 – 1676, the son of czar Mikhail Fyodorovich Romanov.
Russian czar since 1682, Russia’s first emperor since 1721, son of czar Alexey
Prince, statesman, general.
A Russian illuminator, personal secretary of Empress Catherine II.
The Russian empress in 1762–1796, born Princess Sophie Augusta-Frederika von
Anhalt-Zerbst. In 1745, she married Crown Prince Peter Fyodorovich, who was crowned in 1761 as Emperor
Peter III. In June 1762, she overthrew Emperor Peter III and ascended to the throne.
Statesman, count, his serene highness, chief director of postal services of the
Russian Empire, a state secretary of Catherine II.
Statesman, general, participant of the 1762 coup d’état, general field marshal
Statesman, count, prince, state chancellor for internal affairs.
Emperor and autocrat of All Russia as of 1801, the son of Pavel I and grandson
of Catherine the Great.
Statesman, general, field marshal, his serene highness.
Russian Emperor, King of Poland and Grand Duke of Finland, a scion of the
Romanov dynasty. Succeeded Alexander I, preceded Alexander II.
Igor Shilyaev, Ruslan Seitshaev
Andrey Butorin, Aerostream
With assistance from the State Museum of Novgorod the Great
The information used in the project is taken from: the online portal on the history of the Russian Federation, Russia’s History from Ancient Times until late 16th century, a textbook by Leonid Katsva, Russia’s History of the 17th – 18th centuries by Leonid Katsva; A Search for the Artistic Imagery of the Millennium of Russia monument by Boris Budnitsky; the Russian version of Wikipedia. org