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Will Kremlin and Red Square Lose World Heritage Status?

Posted on Feb, 1, 2016
Contributed to WCHV by Danielle

800px-St_Basile_in_Red_Square_(Kremlin)_Moscow,_1993According to several different reports, there have been several confrontations between the Kremlin and Heritage experts in the last few years and a UNESCO experts’ commission is currently contemplating the possibility of taking the Kremlin and Red Square off the UNESCO world heritage list.

These recent developments have been created by two major recent events. First, President Putin suggested the removal of the building number 14 on the historic site, and then he wants to erect a monument to Prince Vladimir, celebrated founder of the Russian state. The statue has been suggested to stand on Borowizki plaza, 500 meters from the main visitors’ entrance. However, the alterations proposed by Mr. Putin for the area around the Kremlin, could cost Moscow its status as a UNESCO world heritage site.

The history of conflict between the experts and the Kremlin goes back a few years. The historical experts in Russia threatened to sue when the administration at the historic Kutafja gate erected two visitor pavilions with turnstiles. However, the big escalation happened in 2013, when Putin ordered the construction of a helipad. Thousands of cubic meters of ground were excavated and trees relocated.

The conservator Todor Krestew working with the Kremlin ensures that everything has been discussed with the respective authorities and international experts and he has confirmed that the Building No. 14 is of no historical architectural value. The monument seems to be a bigger concern, as the highest part of the Kremlin’s wall is only nineteen meters high. However, the 300-ton heavy statue is planned to reach 24 meters.

Interestingly, in September last year, the Moscow city council assembly based their decision on the location for the monument on an Internet poll, and sixty two percent had voted for Borowizki plaza, which is close to the Kremlin. The suggestion came from the Russian military history society, who initiated the voting. However, many historical experts believe that the statue would destroy the historically grown city core, and this led to the first warning by UNESCO in late September. 

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