Grigory Pasko: The Restoration of Russia’s Tsaritsyno Museum

Markina-osn100608A miracle returns The Tsaritsyno Museum-estate reopens in Moscow after restoration Если Вы хотите прочитать оригинал данной статьи на русском языке, нажмите сюда. The restoration of the entire Tsaritsyno museum complex is not yet complete. But the museum is receiving visitors since last year already. Recently, my family and I visited Tsaritsyno. There is indeed much worth seeing there. I was impressed by the modern design and way the exhibitions were arranged, the entrance into the museum complex, the existence of cafes and of brochures in the kiosks… And I thought: in places Russia really is in a condition to rise again. One day, you’ll look around, and everything here will be all set up in a human way and for humans. To find out more about how the restoration of the Tsaritsyno museum-estate went, I met with Irina Markina, deputy general director of the State museum-estate Tsaritsyno for the study, protection, and restoration of monuments of architecture. Irina Alexandrovna Markina, deputy general director of the State museum-estate Tsaritsyno for the study, protection, and restoration of monuments of architecture (photo by Grigory Pasko)

Irina Alexandrovna, Tsaritsyno is now attracting Muscovites and out-of-towners like a magnet: here it is beautiful and convenient to rest; here it is interesting to look at the exhibitions of the museum… Tell us how the complex was restored, what labours this cost the government of Moscow, the builders and the restoration specialists?Indeed, the Moscow government had to bring itself to commit to doing this –restoring not only individual monuments [in Russian, “monument” can refer to a building, a bridge, or a garden, not only a statue on a pedestal—Trans.] of the estate, but the entire complex as a whole. This is a gigantic labor. I will note that at first there were 27 historical objects on the list, now – over 60. Many objects were recreated on the basis of the researches of archeologists.tsar-3100608The Big palace at Tsaritsyno before restoration. The neo-gothic style is highly unusual for late 18th century Russia (photo courtesy of the museum’s collection)Had there been experience of recreating such complexes before Tsaritsyno?Tsaritsyno – this is the first experience of such scale. Moreover, implemented was not only the restoration of this or that structure, but also the reestablishment of the entire complex. The volume of works carried out, starting with the year 2005, is simply huge. Daily on the sites worked no fewer than 2000 workers. In the last moths before the completion of works – there were 3. 5 thousand builders. Practically the entire construction complex of Moscow was involved.Carried out was a huge volume of works: from reinforcing foundations to restorational and finishing works; from the formation of the infrastructure of the museum objects to the landscaping of the estate space. Nothing like this has been done in the world. On 30 000 square meters of areas, electricity, heating, ventilation, air conditioning, the underground space that connected the Bread house and the Big palace were in essence made and installed anew. And all this – in a year and a half. This needs to be entered into the Guinness Book of records.And how much did this miracle end up costing?In all for restoration they expended around 25 bln. rubles. [For comparison: the budget of the Russian capital in the year 2008 is equal to on the order of 1.2 trillion rubles, while the overall annual volume of financial resources of the small Moscow suburb of Reutov comprises 1500 mln. rubles—G.P.]Irina Alexandrovna, I would like to speak with you about the Law on Objects of Cultural Designation, which allows the privatization of cultural and historical sites. To the best of my knowledge, you took part in its drafting…Yes, I was involved in the drafting of this law in the years 2002 -2006. Remember, the public of the country did not welcome this law in the part of the privatization of objects of cultural designation. But I consider that privatization is indispensable. The state can not save the whole massif of monuments of culture – this is more than 85 thousand complexes throughout the country. This is a task beyond the strength of any state. To maintain all this property was possible under the strict planned system from 1917 through the year 1991. But even in those years, the state could not spend a lot of money on the upkeep of all the monuments. There are statistics – 1-2 monuments perish daily in the country.The procedure of privatization doesn’t evoke any admonitions from you?Given the modern-day level of the legislative base and judicial system one can fix up a strict procedure of privatization and responsibility for the preservation of privatized monuments of culture. We need to separate out the rarities – all the large objects upon which no one is encroaching, for example the Tretyakovka [the State Tretyakov Gallery], the State Historical Museum… Nobody could manage their upkeep besides the state. World examples – the Louvre, the Metropolitan museum.tsar-1100608Catherine the Great’s Big palace as it looks today, after restoration (photo courtesy of the museum’s collection)Is there a program for the reestablishment and restoration of all the historical sites of Moscow?To the best of my knowledge, there is no such program. However, Moskomnasledie [Committee for the cultural heritage of the city of Moscow] regularly restores individual structures of these complexes.What is the status of Tsaritsyno?Now Tsaritsyno – is an object of Muscovite subordination, while until the year 1994 – it was in federal subordination. It can not be said that Mincult [the Ministry of Culture] was forgetting about Tsaritsyno, but the federation had a very small budget for the restoration of objects of culture. In that same Tsaritsyno all of 5 monuments were restored. Out of 65. Now all 65 are functioning. Besides this, works for the reestablishment of certain sculptural compositions are continuing.