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The editorial office of the Crimean Svitlytsia newspaper continues to publish a series of articles on the current state of cultural monuments in Crimea and the need for urgent decisions by state politicians of our country to protect and preserve Ukraine’s cultural heritage in the occupied territories.
“My sincere wish is that the building of my art gallery in the city of Feodosia with all the paintings, statues and other works of art in this gallery be the full property of the city of Feodosia, and in memory of me, Aivazovsky, I bequeath the city gallery Feodosia, my hometown “- this is the text of the will of the famous marine artist and battler Ivan Aivazovsky. A board with this inscription still hangs on the facade of the artist’s gallery.
In 1900, after the artist’s death, according to his will, the gallery was transferred to his hometown – Feodosia. The museum houses a collection of about 12,000 paintings of the great master’s marinas, the world’s largest collection of his works on biblical, mythological and other topics (417 pieces), works by like-minded people and followers of Aivazovsky, paintings by mariners of the XVIII-XIX centuries.
Despite the fact that the gallery is owned by Feodosia, in 2014, after the annexation of Crimea, everything in the city’s museums became “property of the Republic of Crimea”, at least according to a document signed by the current “head of the Crimean parliament” Vladimir Konstantinov. In 2016, the Russian government of Crimea signed a tripartite agreement with the administration of Feodosia and the Art Gallery that all paintings will be transferred to the museum for 10 years.
Ukraine has repeatedly reported gross violations of Russia’s actions regarding Ukraine’s cultural heritage. Nevertheless, contrary to international and Ukrainian law, Russia removed works from the Ivan Aivazovsky Gallery from the Ukrainian peninsula for long-term exhibition without asking anyone. Thus, in 2016, 38 paintings by Ivan Aivazovsky from Feodosia were transferred to the Moscow Tretyakov Gallery. The Ministry of Culture of Ukraine responded by alleging a violation of Article 5 of the 1954 Hague Convention, which prohibits the export of valuables from the occupied territories. Later, the director of the Ivan Aivazovsky Gallery in Feodosia, Tetyana Haiduk, said that the paintings had returned to the Crimea and were no longer planned to be exported to Russia.
In September 2017, the Public Chamber of Crimea expressed the need to transfer the art gallery to the “Republican Fund”. The main argument was issues related to further funding of the museum. This initiative was justified by the fact that, subject to the “Republic of Crimea”, the gallery. I. Aivazovsky will have better funding. This seems to allow for repairs in the gallery, which will take the cultural institution to a new level. The “municipal government” cited many “advantages” of changing the form of ownership, assuring that the gallery will not move. Fortunately or unfortunately for the museum itself, this proposal was not approved by the residents of the city, who consider the gallery. I. Aivazovsky pride of Theodosia. Instead, the “municipal government”, trying to reassure the citizens, assured that this issue will not be resolved without taking into account public opinion.
In early November 2018, at a meeting of the Public Chamber of Crimea, the fate of the gallery was discussed again. IK Aivazovsky, namely: transfer to federal ownership and creation on its basis of a branch of the State Tretyakov Gallery. At the same time, the “Minister of Culture” of Crimea Arina Novoselskaya confirmed that the Ministry of Culture of Crimea is against the transfer of the gallery to the federal government. She explained that the decision to transfer Aivazovsky’s gallery to the ownership of the Republic of Crimea has already been made, but it has not yet been documented. According to her, this was due to the fact that the measures taken by local governments to ensure the physical preservation of museum objects and collections, their security, the implementation of the constitutional right of citizens to access cultural values are insufficient due to limited financial and human resources. .
However, the “head” of the Crimea, Sergei Aksyonov, during a field meeting held on December 13, 2018, stated that the art gallery named after IK Aivazovsky will remain the property of the city. The final point in this matter was set at the session of the Feodosia City Council on March 29, 2019, at which it was decided to leave the city gallery.
While the controversy over the change of ownership of the museum continued, the old building of the Feodosia Art Gallery. I. Aivazovsky began to fall apart, because it needs constant support and repair. According to estimates by the current “government” of Feodosia, half of the city’s budget needs to be spent on museum repairs, as the gallery lacks modern equipment, lighting and a microclimate system, but the city does not have the money to do so.
However, emergency work in the gallery still took place, and they lasted from December 2016 to July 2017, for which the federal budget was allocated 30 million rubles. In the museum building, the roof over the main exhibition hall was strengthened, the tiles were completely replaced, and the facade was repaired. Then in August 2017, the director of the museum T. Haiduk said that “according to preliminary calculations, the overhaul of the main building of the gallery can cost 250-300 million rubles. This includes the renovation of the main exhibition hall with an area of 260 square meters, installation of climate control and fire extinguishing systems in the gallery, as well as equipping the halls with modern multimedia equipment. ”
And in December 2018, the “head” of the Crimea, Sergei Aksonov, said that the repair of the gallery allocated 100 million rubles. “These funds will be spent on tidying up the museum,” he said. And the so-called Minister of Culture of the Republic of Crimea Arina Novoselskaya, in turn, spoke about the urgent costs necessary to preserve the unique collection of the museum: design and estimate documentation will cost 200 million rubles, and the construction of new museum facilities, technical equipment and purchase of new equipment – one and a half billion by 2022.
However, it is not clear where and for what the funds allocated by Aksyonov were spent, because less than a year and a half has passed since the recent renovation, as in February 2019 the Feodosians began to notice significant cracks on the walls of the museum.
According to the local media “Kafa”, if you approach the monument to Aivazovsky, you immediately notice a large vertical crack, located on the right behind the mariner, in the corner of the gutter, and crowned by two dark gray spots from the destroyed finish. In addition, here and there, on the bright orange facade, you can see traces of collapsed plaster, which makes it clear that if you do not take measures to eliminate them in the near future, you can anticipate a quick start of new restoration work on the main building. Instead, there was no immediate response to the rescue of the building from both the city and Crimean authorities. Everyone was busy with other, more important, paper matters.
Thus, in May 2019, the Crimean branch of the MDCSU approved the start of development of design documentation for the reconstruction of the building of the Feodosia Art Gallery named after IK Aivazovsky.
The substantiation of the investment plan states that the complex works will eliminate the existing problems of the cultural heritage site, which has not been overhauled for many years. “Since the building has not been comprehensively restored for a long time, and it has not adapted to modern requirements, it is now in a state of significant moral and technical deterioration,” said GDE experts. – Authentic architectural, structural and decorative elements are lost or threatened with loss. In the exhibition halls there are no through routes for viewing the exhibition and access for people with disabilities. And engineering networks, technological equipment do not cope with the tasks assigned to them, do not work or are completely absent.Due to this, there are difficulties in ensuring a proper microclimate in the premises for the museum exhibits and for the stay of visitors.
Funding for existing problems is planned from the federal and regional budgets. According to preliminary data, only the first-priority repair and restoration works will cost the state 500 million rubles. ”
As you can see, while the building of the Art Gallery is literally cracking at the seams, the funds for its repair are growing exponentially, and only on paper.
According to the “head of the administration” of Feodosia Serhiy Bovtunenko, “in accordance with the federal target program for the development of Crimea and Sevastopol, this year (2019, – ed.) Will be prepared design and estimate documentation for the overhaul of the art gallery. Aivazovsky. Repair work will be performed in 2020. ”
And the director of the Feodosia Art Gallery. IK Aivazovsky Tetyana Haiduk, in turn, added that the amount of planned work will depend on the amount of funding. “Last year, at the request of the State Committee for the Protection of Cultural Heritage, the contractor began work on preparing documentation. This year the work continues and goes to the design and survey work. When they are completed and examined, the scope of work and their cost will be clear. Then we will have to have time to put it in the budget for 2020. At the moment, the documentation is being prepared so that major repair and restoration works can be carried out in two of our buildings and a storage facility will be built. And then the question arises, to what extent it will be funded. But unequivocally, to a greater or lesser extent in 2020, work on the facility will begin. “- said the director of the gallery. That is, the final amount and volume of “repair and restoration work” seems to be known only to the Lord God.
However, the contractor, which performed emergency work in the gallery in 2017, only in July 2019 (ie less than six months, literally) began warranty repairs to the facade of the building. According to the director of the institution Tetyana Haiduk, the works take place not only on the facade, but also in one of the premises of the institution.
“There was a leak in one of the halls. Now there are works, during which the paintings were removed from the walls. This is the smallest hall, intermediate between the living rooms. As for the restoration of the facade, these works were to be completed last week. But due to the bad weather, firstly, the works were suspended, and secondly, it took time for the facade to dry after the downpours, “said T. Haiduk, adding that the repairs will be completed soon.
Instead, the future reincarnation of the gallery announced by the Crimean authorities is impressive, the reconstruction of which, as already mentioned, will last until 2022. According to the “head” of Crimea Sergei Aksyonov, in the next two years Crimea plans to complete the creation of a single museum quarter on the basis of the Feodosiya Art Gallery Aivazovsky, leading experts from the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow to expert assessment of the museum and develop the concept of its restoration. The first thing that will change is the museum halls. It is planned that after the renovation of the gallery. Aivazovsky will become the main museum of Crimea. “There has never been such a project in Crimea or in the south of Russia. The project is implemented within the framework of the federal target program, in addition, part of the funds is attracted by the Federal Ministry of Culture from the programs supervised by the Ministry of Culture, “Aksonov said.
So, despite all the Napoleonic plans of the current Crimean “helmsmen” and knowing with what “zeal” and most importantly – “professionalism” (as evidenced by the history of “repair” and “restoration” of other cultural heritage sites of Crimea), they set to work (ie for the “development” of federal funds) and bring it to an end, there is hope that after all these “modernizations” and “overhauls” in Russian from the pearl of artistic life and the pride of Theodosia – Art Gallery. Aivazovsky still has something left. After all, everything that is happening now in the cultural sphere of Crimea is more reminiscent of a favorite Russian proverb: “Make a fool pray to God, he will break his forehead.”