TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Unveiling of monument to Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich

Kremlin and Environs Aerial View

( – May 4, 2017)

Vladimir Putin took part in a ceremony unveiling a monument to Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich on the site of his assassination in the park by the Kremlin’s Nikolskaya Tower.

Acting on Mr Putin’s instruction, the Russian Military Historical Society and the Foundation for Revival of Traditions of Compassion and Charity St Elizabeth – St Sergius Educational Society carried out the work to restore the memorial, which was paid for by public donations and raised in 1905 and demolished in 1918.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Your Holiness, ladies and gentlemen,

Today, we remember events more than a century distant from us. On February 4, 1905, a terrorist threw a bomb that killed Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich.

This crime was one of the harbingers of the dramatic events, turmoil and civil war that would engulf Russia, bringing tremendous losses, genuine national catastrophe, and threatening the existence of Russia’s very statehood.

There is never any justification for violence and murder, not matter what political slogans they use. The Grand Duke’s death shook Russian society back then and people from all backgrounds saw it as a tragedy. The memorial cross raised at the site of this cruel vengeance was a symbol of sorrow and regret. It was raised at the people’s will and funded solely by public donations.

Outstanding Russian artist Viktor Vasnetsov took part in erecting the memorial, and the Grand Duke’s widow, Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna, gave her blessing to the memorial.

I should say a few words separately about this remarkable woman. She worked tirelessly and was active in charity efforts. The Russian Orthodox Church conferred sainthood on her. She did not leave the country even during the darkest days and to her death remained true to the ideals of Christian forgiveness and love. The cross raised on this site bore, too, the mark of her personality, destiny and inner spiritual strength.

This cross was among the first monuments destroyed after the revolution. The Chudov Monastery in the Kremlin and countless other monuments around the country met the same fate. In the end though, truth and justice always prevail.

Today, we see how churches are rebuilt, monasteries open anew, and holy places that were lost are returned. Russia’s history is regaining its unity. We treasure each page in this history, no matter how difficult. These are our national spiritual roots.

The cross raised in memory of Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich’s death has been restored to its historical place. It stands as a symbol of the price we had to pay for hatred, division and hostility, and reminds us that we must do everything we can to preserve our people’s unity and harmony.

Today, we should say again that we only have one Russia, and no matter what our individual views and positions, we must all defend and look after this Russia, make our people’s future, the happiness of our people and our children and grandchildren our priority.

I thank sincerely all who took part in restoring this memorial.

Thank you very much.

[featured image is file photo]