These are the monuments to Theodore Roosevelt in New York and Alexander Baranov (head of the Russian colony) in Alaska.
According to information that appeared in the media on July 2, 2020, Andrei Filatov, a Russian businessman, collector and founder of the London-based Russian Art Russe Foundation, said he was ready to buy two statues that had been targeted by the BLM movement in the United States in recent weeks.
The monument to Theodore Roosevelt, located in front of the American Museum of Natural History in New York, has been criticized by protesters for its ambiguous multi-figure composition: the image of indigenous and African-American people walking on the sides of the Roosevelt horse is interpreted as racist symbolism, indicating the “inferior” status of people walking. In addition, the former U.S. president is also criticized for his open racist and colonial views, as well as for propagating eugenic theories. A resonant public discussion of the need for this sculpture on the streets of New York City has led to the fact that the mayor of the city, Bill De Blasio, recently agreed to remove the statue.
The monument to Alexander Baranov came under public criticism as a symbol of the Russian Empire’s colonization activities against Alaska’s indigenous peoples. To be fair, it should be noted that, unlike the statue of Theodore Roosevelt, the monument to Baranov is not yet planned to be removed at all, but moved to another place.
However, Andrei Filatov, whose words are quoted by The Calvert Journal, said that, in his opinion, these monuments should be preserved, if not for the sake of U.S. history, then for the sake of Russian history: “First of all, it is about preserving the memory of statesmen who influenced the history of Russia, the development of its economy and statehood.
And if the U.S. authorities go along with this proposal, the purchase may well take place. At least Filatov’s financial capacity allows it: today his fortune is estimated by Forbes at £600 million. His Art Russe Foundation, founded in 2012 to implement educational projects aimed at supporting and popularizing Russian art of the XX century, keeps a private collection of more than 200 works of Soviet art from 1917-1991, and sponsors and oversees several galleries and exhibitions in London and Abu Dhabi.