Boris Yeltsin gravestone
White marble, Byzantine mosaic blue, red porphyry
On April, 23, 2008 at Novodevichye cemetery of Moscow, where the First President of Russia has been buried, the solemn ceremony of the gravestone erection was held, dedicated to the anniversary of Boris Yeltsin’s death.
George Frangulyan has created a deeply symbolic monumental composition: a sculpture of tricolour Russian flag. It was an unexpected artistic and plastic solution, made of three materials, including white marble, blue Byzantine mosaics and red porphyry.
The ceremony of unveiling the monument was attended by all the relatives and friends of the First President, the political elite and prominent public figures. Among the people who came to commemorate Yeltsin were acting Russian President Putin with President-elect Dmitry Medvedev, Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov, First Deputy Prime Minister Sergey Ivanov, Head of the Presidential Administration Sergey Sobyanin, former Head of Russian Government Yegor Gaydar, Head of RJS CUES of Russia Anatoly Chubays, ex-President of Kyrgyzstan Askar Akayev, singer Galina Vishnevskaya, Academician Yuri Ryzhov.
Speaking at the opening of a monument to former Russian President, Vladimir Putin noted: “The monument we open today is not only a tribute to the First President of the country: his tombstone is justifiably covered by Russian state flag, tricolour, the national flag of Russia, which after decades was returned by him, by Boris Nikolayevich Yeltsin, to our history, our country, our people. This flag is the evidence of old democratic inspirations, which our people suffered for. It is one of the brightest symbols of the solid choice of the free society and civilized development. This is the only worthy choice for such a great country as Russia.”
After the speech of Putin, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Alexius II held a lity, solemnly consecrated the monument and sprinkled it with holy water.
Naina Yeltsina (Boris Yeltsin’s widow): “This is an unusual monument. After all, the gravestones are usually busts or bas-reliefs. But I could not imagine the face of Boris in stone, so the monument seemed very unusual to me. We examined offers of several well-known sculptors, but George Vartanovich Frangulyan’s proposition was very unusual. And I am not a person who takes unexpected decisions easily. And I needed time to get used to it. I realized that Boris Nikolayevich would like it. Children also approved it. And we settled upon this idea.”
Tatyana Yumasheva (Boris Yeltsin’s daughter): “The monument is very comprehensive. Just as dad.” It is “surprisingly complete, there’s nothing superfluous.”
Leonid Kuchma (former President of Ukraine) noted that the idea of Boris Yeltsin monument shaped after Russian flag is “as majestic, as the man himself in whose honour it was built.”
Askar Akayev (first President of Kyrgyzstan): “As for the monument, it was a pleasant surprise for me: the flag for the First President of Russia, it is right.”
Viktor Chernomyrdin: “This is a great banner for a great man.”
Rossiyskaya Gazeta: “It is unique as Russia itself.”
Kommersant: “There simply cannot be more significant symbol.”