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September 14, 2017


Re: Pitt Committee Offers Expert Insight to City Discussions on Statue’s Future

It is with a great concern that I have been observing the current wave of the destruction of historic monuments and the taken-for-granted possibility of the continuation of this Orwellian cleansing of U.S. sculptural history. These developments remind someone like me, a refugee from the now extinct Soviet Union, of the cultural destruction inflicted upon Russia and other Soviet republics by the Communist regime. That was done in order to not only remove what was considered symbols of oppression, but also to whitewash Soviet (née Russian) history. Similarly, the current events are driven by the desire to remove what is considered offensive from the standpoint of glorification of the oppression symbols, but also to whitewash the shameful past. Needless to say, the standard applied to define the past as shameful is today’s, anachronistically demanding from the population of centuries ago the same moral convictions that were not current even decades ago. It takes no flight of imagination to see how the same principle applied to the literature would result in censorship and banning the classics, if not book-burning – the full analog of statue destruction, with horrific historic parallels.

There should be no question like that stated at the end of the article, “what do we do with all these terrible monuments?” A country with a history as short as the United States’ should guard its milestone landmarks rather than allow vandalism, however well-intentioned and legitimized by committees.


Michael Vanyukov
Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Psychiatry, and Human Genetics


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