Hermitage under fire for memorial plaque to Bolshevik Uritsky



Bolshevik revolutionary leader Moisei Solomonovich Uritsky (1873-1918)

The descendants of the White Russian emigration are calling for a boycott of the State Hermitage Museum in connection with the installation of a memorial tablet to Bolshevik revolutionary leader Moisei Solomonovich Uritsky – a Russian revolutionary and political activist, chairman of the Petrograd Cheka (Extraordinary Commission for Combatting Counter-Revolution and Sabotage). He also held the post of Commissar for Internal Affairs in the Council of People’s Commissars of the Petrograd Workers’ Commune. 

The corresponding joint appeal was made by the Russian Imperial Union-Order (RIS-O) and the Russian All-Military Union (EMRO):

“For more than a quarter of a century, our people slowly, painfully overcome the grave legacy of totalitarianism, returning to the Orthodox faith, restoring the pages of our history, the names of national leaders and heroes. Unfortunately, the existing legislative base in the Russian Federation, the lack of historical knowledge and the inertia of consciousness of a significant part of the population, inherited from the Soviet system, do not help this process, which is vital for Russia, to move foreword.

“The lack of legal condemnation of crimes committed by the communist party and the corresponding state ideology in the Russian Federation leads to the fact that questions of ideological education and historical education are often in the hands of individuals, who are not pursuing state interests and expressing only personal views or political sympathies. And this, in turn, over and over again leads to flagrant incidents, reversing old wounds in Russian society, fueling conflicts and causing new schisms.

“One of such incidents was the opening on 25th September 2018 – the year of the 100th anniversary of the introduction of the Red Terror! – a memorial plaque commemorating the chairman of the Petrograd Cheka, Moisei Solomonovich Uritsky.  The plaque was installed at the site of his assassination – on the staircase of the vestibule in the east wing of the former Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Empire (General Staff Building, now owned by the State Hermitage Museum). The inscription on it reads: “On 30 August 1918 on this spot Moisei Uritsky, a warrior and guardian of the Socialist Revolution, perished at the hands of Right SRs, enemies of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat.”


Hermitage Director Mikhail Piotrovsky unveils Uritsky memorial plaque


“Speaking at the opening ceremony of the board, the director of the Hermitage, Mikhail Piotrovsky, explained the appearance of this memorial by saying that “Today we are unveiling a memorial plaque marking an event that instigated the Red Terror”, and Uritsky and  his assassin Leonid Kannegisser (1896-1918) were both “intelligent, interesting figures”. But in Russia Moses Uritsky is, whom even his revolutionary comrades described as the “embodiment of the Bolshevik terror” …

“The cynicism and blasphemous installation of the Uritsky memorial plaque in the same building which houses the exposition “Museum of the Russian Guard” dedicated to Russian soldiers who fought and didn’t spare their lives for Faith, Tsar and Fatherland, many of whom were victims of Bolshevik terror unleashed by Uritsky and his associates must be condemned.

“I would also like to remind you that a memorial plaque to Admiral Alexander Vasilyevich Kolchak (1874-1920) was recently dismantled in St. Petersburg. Apparently, unlike Moses Uritsky, the outstanding polar explorer and Russian naval commander, the Supreme Ruler of Russia (from 1918), Admiral Kolchak, in the eyes of local officials, is not a “bright and interesting figure”, but the principle of comprehensive coverage of the history to A.V. Kolchak, like other heroes of anti-Bolshevik resistance, does not apply …  “


Vandals mark the grave of Uritsky – Палач “Executioner”

“Considering the above, the oldest national organizations of Russia and Russian abroad – the Russian All-Military Union (ROVS) and the Russian Imperial Union-Order (RIS-O) appeal to their compatriots abroad to suspend the transfer of any historical and cultural values ​​to the State Hermitage, including the Museum of the Russian Guard. In our opinion, as long as the plaque perpetuates the memory of Uritsky, one of the executioners and tormentors of the Russian people hangs on the wall of this institution, while in the Hermitage the names of the organizers of the murders of the Russian officers, clergy, nobility, Cossacks , millions of peasants and other victims of the Bolshevik terror, such gifts and transfers from the descendants of Russian émigrés would be contrary to moral and ethical principles,

“We also note that the scandal caused by the installation of the Uritzky memorial plaque by the leadership of the State Hermitage Museum once again exposes the lack of a corresponding state ideology and legislative framework within the Russian Federation which prohibits the “heroization” of political extremism and perpetuates the memory of those responsible for unleashing civil war and political terror. We urge our compatriots abroad to use their moral authority in favor of the earliest possible resolution of this acute problem for modern Russia.” 

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 4 October 2018