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The Statue of Minin and Pozharsky

The Statue of Minin and Pozharsky in Moscow Kremlin This famous statue commemorates Prince Dmitry Pozharsky and the butcher Kuzma Minin, the leaders of the militia that repelled the Polish invasion of 1612, at the height of the Time of Troubles. Designed by the architect I. Martos, it was erected in 1818 and became Russia's first monumental sculpture. One of the bas-reliefs shows the people of Novogorod bringing their sons to be armed - Minin famously forced the city to provide funds and fighting men by holding their womenfolk hostage. The other shows the Poles fleeing from the Kremlin, pursued by Russian troops. The pediment is inscribed with the words: "To Citizen Minin and Prince Pozharsky, from a grateful Russia".

The statue once stood in the centre of Red Square, with the figure of Minin pointing towards the Kremlin. However, it was moved in 1930, after the construction of Lenin's mausoleum - rumour has it that Minin's rabble-rousing gesture appeared rather ambiguous in relation to the positioning of the great leader's tomb. In fact, the reason for moving the statue was more simple than that - its location interfered with Stalin's plans for massed military parades.

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