Peter the Great: the abhorred colossus

Peter the Great: the abhorred colossus

How did Peter the Great, who hated Moscow so much that he transferred the capital to St. Petersburg, come to be honoured on an artificial island in the Moskva River?

Close to the former Red October Chocolate Factory in Moscow stands an anachronistic, impressive, and strange statue along the Moskva, south of the Kremlin. Sculpted by Georgian artist Zurab Tsereteli, it represents Peter the Great in armour at the helm of a ship with folded sails. It is a curious monument for history buffs, considering this emperor hated Moscow so much that he moved his capital to St. Petersburg.

This grandiose sculpture, officially called ‘Monument to commemorate the 300th anniversary of the Russian fleet', is both kitsch and baroque. It was first meant for Seville, which rejected it. The man depicted was supposed to represent Christopher Columbus, but the artist changed his mind, renamed it Peter the Great, and gave it to the Moscow municipality in 1997. Moscow dubbed it the Monster, and this 98-metre-tall colossus on a reinforced concrete island is widely hated. There is talk of removing it, but the problem is the cost, which is estimated at almost 2 billion RUB.

Statue of Peter the Great
Krymskaya nab., 10