Opening of the monument to homeless animals “Sympathy”


In the Moscow metro at “Mendeleevskaya” station there was established a monument by sculptor Alexander Tsigal devoted to humane treatment of homeless animals.

The idea of creation of “Sympathy” monument gathered many outstanding people together. A supervisory board of the monument consists of: Elena Kamburova (chairperson), Oleg Anofriev, Arkady Arkanov, Bella Akhmadulina, Andrey Bitov, Eugene Bunimovich, Elina Bystritskaya, Valentin Gaft, Gennady Gladkov, Alexander Gradsky, Gregory Gladkov, Vladimir Dashkevich, Armen Dzhigarkhanyan, Eugene Evtushenko, Fazil Iskander, Lyudmila Kasatkina, Yuri Kuklachev, Mikhail Levitin, Andrey Makarevich, Olga Ostroumova, Lyubov Polischuk, Vyacheslav Pyetsukh, Konstantin Raykin, Yuri Rost, Sergey Sereda (president of the League of Russian veterinary practitioners), Yuri Solomin, Yuri Shevchuk, Mikhail Shirvindt, Alexey Scheglov, Yuri Yakovlev; lawyers: Polina Zhuk, Yekaterina Polyakova, Stanislav Markelov, Genrikh Padva, Henry Reznik and others. Curator of the project is writer and journalist Irina Ozernaya.  

The place for the monument “Sympathy” was chosen for a reason – just around the corner, in the pedestrian tunnel of “Mendeleevskaya” station, a dog named Malchik (Boy), the favorite of many passengers and subway workers, was publicly killed with a knife.  

“Izvestiya” newspaper covered the investigation of this crime in several articles (materials of Irina Ozernaya: “Malchik Got Killed”, “The right for cruelty”, “Malchik returns to the metro”, “Not a big deal to knife a dog!” and others).

These publications caused a serious public outcry. A group of people’s artists turned to the head of the metro Dmitry Gaev with a request to support the idea of the monument “Sympathy” at “Mendeleevskaya” station that would symbolize any forms of life and a protest against abusive handling of homeless animals. 

The head of the subway supported the idea and, after seeing the sketch of the bronze sculpture and the architectural project of the monument “Sympathy”, he highly appreciated its artistry and said in the interview to “Izvestiya”, that “the function of this sculpture is not only in animal protection, but also in influencing over people’s minds in a good way, showing children what’s right. Such steps are highly needed at the present hard time.

The money for the creation of the monument “Sympathy” were collected from the entire world – they came from Russian and foreign people to the Theater of Music and Poetry under the lead of Elena Kamburova. Among the contributors are both ordinary and very famous people, many cultural figures. Moscow City Duma Deputy Eugene Bunimovich said recently in a radio program that unanimity of people, shown when the money were being collected for the monument, could be compared only to the well-known solidarity of those who contributed in Pushkin’s monument in Moscow.

It is not coincidental as the attitude of the government toward animals is, in the words of Leo Tolstoy, “the first step of morality” that cannot be skipped over to reach the next steps – it vividly demonstrates the moral qualities of the society. 

On the night of February 15th the monument “Sympathy” was established at “Mendeleevskaya” station.

On February 17, 2007 an official opening ceremony was held in the vestibule of “Mendeleevskaya” station, “Sympathy” became the world first monument devoted to the humane attitude towards homeless animals. This event symbolically happened on the final day of the Dog’s Year according to the Chinese calendar.  

On that day the most famous Moscow dog stopped being homeless and found its shelter. The dog casted into bronze stands on the pedestal made from a serpentine marble block.  

Sculptor: member correspondent of the Russian Academy of Arts, honored artist of the Russian Federation, winner of Lenin’s Komsomol prizes and Moscow city administration awards, Alexander Tsigal.
Artist: Sergey Tsigal
Architect: Andrey Nalich
Designer: Peter Nalich

Famous figures of culture and art came to the opening ceremony, many of them contributed to the monument creation – Andrey Makarevich, Mikhail Shirvindt, Veniamin Smekhov, Oleg Anofriev, Lyudmila Kasatkina, Sergey Yursky and many others.  

Alexander Tsigal, sculptor of monument “Sympathy”: «The maturity of a society can be judged about according to the way this society treats animals, old people and children. According to its attitude to weaker ones, in general”.  

Veniamin Smekhov: «Now people have an opportunity to give a bow to their friend – the dog. When I was a little boy, right after the war, we were frightened with canine rabies, but today, if such savage events happen in our peaceful time, it comes to mind that we have to treat people for rabies, not dogs”.

Musician Andrey Makarevich: «Such reminder of kindness will never be needless, especially in our time and in our society”.

The author of the monument Alexander Tsigal asked the police and subway workers to let people photograph the sculpture, let kids sit on the bronze dog and even put bags on it: “Let Malchik protect them and participate in people’s life the way he used to do”.

Just recently “Sympathy” monument received its first appreciation from experts – its authors were awarded with diplomas and the prize of the Association of Moscow Sculptors that traditionally distinguishes the best sculptural works of the year.

The monument keeps attracting attention of ordinary citizens too. People from different areas of Moscow, other Russian cities and even from abroad, intentionally come to see it. Natural flowers never fade on the pedestal of the monument. Children are especially delighted to see it. 

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