As told to “RG” Sitka city Manager John Leach, local authorities have not yet made a decision about the monument. “Silent rally, which lasted half an hour, at the moment, is the only event connected with the monument. Still no one suggested legislative initiatives in this regard”, – he explained. In turn, the mayor of Sitka’s Gary Paxton said that the city Assembly will take a decision on the monument in July or August. “In due time we will decide how to resolve this issue in a constructive way, respecting the opinion of all stakeholders, as well as the history of our city” – diplomatically expressed confidence the mayor.
Attempt to remove the monument Baranov has caused a wide resonance among representatives of the Russian Diaspora in the USA, which wrote an open letter to Paxton and initiated a petition to prevent transfer of the monument. “We oppose the proposal to remove the monument, and regard this as an attempt to erase the important pages of the rich history of Alaska, Russian heritage in the United States and cultural cooperation”, – the document says that a few days has collected more than 3,5 thousand signatures.
ironically, the monument Baranov was established in Sitka in 1989 as a symbol of the end of the cold war, but has since become the subject of numerous disputes. “He’s always been a particular irritant for a small but influential group of residents of Sitka, mostly representatives of the peoples of the Tlingit and Haida”, – said “RG” Director of the Russian cultural center in Alaska, Anna is Correct. According to her, the Tlingit and Haida were constantly at war among themselves, while the rams tried to peaceful relations with the local population. “Reading in social networks the correspondence of the supporters of the demolition of the monument, I realized that they do not know the story that was passed down to them in a distorted form. They were told about the cruelty Baranova, although he was one of the most peaceful rulers of Russian America,” she says.
Allegations that Russian allegedly imposed on local Orthodoxy and forced to forget their religion, also have no Foundation, emphasizes the Faithful. She offers to go to any of the Russian Church in Alaska and to ensure that the majority of the parishioners are of the same Tlingit, Aleuts and Eskimos, which no one bothered to return the “native” religion after Russia sold Alaska to US in 1867.
“These people continue to be baptized in Orthodoxy so far, they are Russian names, they have Russian names, and they are against the “colonizer” Baranov?” – surprised True.
According to the Director of the Russian cultural center, opponents of the monument are trying to rewrite history, not having any confirmed fact about the brutality of Baranova. Loyal believes that further steps can result in sob��th problems in relation to Tlingit from other indigenous peoples of the state, not to mention the Russian.
“the demolition of the monument will make the tension in the relations between all the ethnicities living in Sitka, and the territory of Alaska and between our countries. It would seem that this is a special case, but it entails very serious consequences for all of us,” she said.
With this agreement, and the President of one of the oldest Russian associations – Congress of Russian Americans (CRA) Natalie Sabelnik. “We hope to show local authorities that the demolition of the statue will have a devastating impact not only on Russian-American relations, but primarily for their own tourist industry, because many Russians from all over the world still come to Sitka as the capital of the historic Russian America,” she said in an interview “RG”.
As said city Manager Sitka John Leach, while nobody offered to buy the city monument. Family Haimes, once gave his Sitka, traditionally silent on the matter, what’s the correspondent of “RG” and see for yourself: one of the members of the family, Roger Haimes, did not respond to a request for comment on the situation. At the same time, his cousin Brian Haimes through the local media expressed regret that the monument causes negative emotions on the part of citizens. “This is a gift to the city, and the city must decide what to do,” he said, adding that the family asks him not to destroy the monument out of respect to the sculptor, Joan Buckby Jackson.
One of the possible locations of new “residence” controversial monument may become Museum of the history of Sitka. “If the authorities decide to move the statue, our Board will consider whether to adopt it to your collection,” – said “RG” Executive Director of the Museum Hal Spackman.
In his opinion, any decision will not affect the preservation of the history of the city. “The Russian legacy will forever remain part of the past of Alaska, regardless of, there are monuments or not. History does not disappear, the events continue to occur, and it is important to study our past and take lessons from it,” said the historian, who, like the representatives of the city authorities, have tried to be as careful in his statements.
Among other things, the memory of the first Governor of Russian America immortalized in the U.S. not only this monument. It is named after a U.S. Navy ship, the island on which Sitka stands, and the archipelago where the island is located. To rename them while no one is going.