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Why Does This Russian Want To Save Controversial Statues Of America?

Billionaire Russian businessman, Andrey Filatov has offered to buy two statues in America that protestors want removed. These statues are known to have a problematic history of colonization and racism that is still affecting global markets like America. Protestors have implored the government to remove all controversial statues of America that were not necessary to build in the first place.

Filatov collects and preserves pieces of art from soviet-era (1917-1991) for his Art Russe Foundation. He said that both of these statues hold a cultural and historical value to him. He added that the individuals that these statues depicted played a huge role in the development of Russia.

The Russian Statues Of America?

One statue is of Alexander Baranov who was a governor of past Russian settlements in Northern America and the Caribbean. It has stood in Sitka, Alaska since 1989 while several Native American communities have called to take it down. Previously natives took down the statue of Christopher Columbus in the most convincing fashion. Natives describe Baranov as another aggressive colonist who came to Alaska uninvited with a goal to get riches for himself, his company, and his country. In order to achieve his goals, he led armed assaults against the natives.

Second one shows Theodore Roosevelt in all his glory. The 26th President of the United States is shown on a horse while a native American and a Back man were standing at his feet. This depiction shows that non-white communities are subjugated because they are racially inferior to white. As a president, he dismissed 160 black soldiers from the army after accusing all of them of shooting incidents. Roosevelt’s statue has suffered a lot of vandalism and calls for removal. It was confirmed that the statue would be taken down by the month of June but after Filatov’s offer, there is no announcement and action yet.

Why Are They Important For Russia?

Roosevelt played a backend role in brokering a treaty between Russia and Japan in 1904 to end a war that spanned over two years. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1906 due to this deal. This treaty served as a reminder that Asian powers are inferior to European powers who are mostly white. 

Filatov says that Roosevelt and Baranov were highly regarded in Russia so he would be bringing those statues of America to Russia, and out of harm’s way. He added that both were statesmen who left a positive mark in Russian history. Therefore, his foundation needed to preserve the statue along with their narrative for future generations.

Who Is Andrey Filitov?

Filatov was born in Ukraine who made his fortune in the transport and shipping industries.  According to Forbes, his net worth is estimated at $1.1 billion till 2019. He founded Tuloma Investment Company and is a co-owner of the freight rail service Globaltrans. 

He established the Art Russe Foundation In 2012, to collect Russian art that primarily describes Soviet era. He then provides the art to galleries and museums on loan. After the collapse of Soviet Union, artworks were taken out of the country in huge numbers. Filatov thinks it’s his job to buy those pieces of art and display them for people.

He wrote to the American Museum of Natural History and some unspecified authorities to show interest in purchasing both controversial American statues. He concluded that the cost of the statues would be subjected to negotiation but St. Petersburg would be a perfect home for both statues.

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