Author: Tikhonov A.G. T. G. ShevchenkoPublished: Tikhonov A.G. Monument to Podoltsy (Bendery antiquity: A cycle of local history notes) // Historical almanac of Pridnestrovie. - Tiraspol-Bendery: State Institute of Entrepreneurship "Bendery printing house "Polygraphist", 2019.
Here, at the Bendery crossing, Where there are sometimes countless military battles, More than once the double-headed eagle saved Russia's military honor. And, bowing low to the fallen, Measuring the seasons, the Eagle flew over the obelisk, To stay there forever. L. A. Litvinenko
“Monument to the 55th Podolsky Infantry Regiment”, “Monument to Valiant Russian Soldiers”, “Monument-Monument “Descendants to Valiant Ancestors”, “Monument to the Podolsk Regiment”, “Monument to Russian Glory” - all this is it - the Bendery “Eagle”! That is how, simply, Bendery people call this monument among themselves. The oldest in the city, it was founded in the Bendery fortress on June 10 (23), 1912 in memory of the soldiers of the 55th Podolsky Infantry Regiment stationed in Bendery who fell in the Patriotic War of 1812.
On the day of the centenary of the battle of Borodino on August 26 (September 8), when all of Russia celebrated the centennial anniversary of the Patriotic War, the monument was inaugurated (See Annexes 1-3). It was installed on a low hill in the center of the square (N 46.83630°, E 29.48672°) about 25 sazhens north of the Alexander Nevsky Church. But the exact original location of the monument was forgotten for many years, and only in 2017 it was possible to establish it using a German aerial photograph of 1944, compared with a modern satellite one.
The monument was built according to the project of an unknown author at the expense of the soldiers and officers of the regiment. He represented obelisk black labradorite, mounted on a quadrangular three-stage base and crowned with wings raised bronze eagle. A staircase of ten steps narrowing upward led to the base of the monument. (Fig. 9). The words were carved on the sides of the obelisk: on the front - "TO THE VALIANT ANCESTORS DESCENDANTS" and below “FROM THE 55th FEI. PODIL'SKY REGIMENT. 1912", on the back - "PARTICIPATION OF THE PODOL'SKY REGIMENT IN THE BATTLE OF 1812 ON THE USHASHCH RIVER ON OCTOBER 8, NEAR THE VILLAGE OF CHASHNIKI ON OCTOBER 19, NEAR THE VILLAGE OF STANISCHE, KRABRY AND SMOLYANTSY ON NOVEMBER 2 ".
It is possible that a typical tombstone model was used as the basis for the monument. At least one similar obelisk has been preserved in the old city cemetery of Bendery. Apparently, it was made in the 1910s, and after 1955 it was reused at a new burial. This is evidenced by one of the faces of the tombstone, where the former inscription was cut off, and an epitaph took its place. But even if such a model did not become the prototype for the monument to the Podets, it is quite reasonable to assume that both obelisks were made in the same granite workshop.
On the whole, in its idea, the monument resembled at once several monuments built at different times in the Russian Empire. For example, to the soldiers of the 77th Infantry Regiment of the Tenginsky, Captain N. Liko and Private A. Osipov in Vladikavkaz (1881), to the soldiers of the 148th Infantry Caspian Regiment, who fell in the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-1905, in Peterhof (1911) or soldiers of the 2nd Sophia Infantry Regiment, who fell in the Patriotic War of 1812, in Smolensk (1912). But more than others, he looked like a monument to Field Marshal M. I. Kutuzov (Fig. 10), erected on the Borodino field also in the anniversary year.
Proceeding from the fact that the monument of glory of the 55th Infantry Podolsk Regiment has been preserved and is well known to us, and its photograph has also been found (Fig. 9), made in the year of discovery, some questions are raised by the description given in the Bessarabian newspapers of that time: The monument is a granite rock, on top of which soaring golden double-headed eagle» (“Bessarabian Telegraph”) and "The monument to the Podtsy is a lump, at the top of which is eagle with outstretched wings» ("Bessarabian life"). What is it: a peculiar interpretation of what they saw, or did the correspondents not see the monument at all? And were not both correspondents the same person? It is difficult to answer these questions now. One can only note that such a description is more suitable for the monument erected in 1912 on the Borodino field in honor of the valiant ancestors of the 53rd Volyn Infantry Regiment (Fig. 11), which was part of the same division as the 55th Podolsky.
With the occupation of Bessarabia by Romania in 1918, new owners came to Bendery. At the same time, the 55th Podolsky Infantry Regiment ended its journey. But, no matter how strange it may seem, despite such changes, the monument of Russian military glory survived. The secret of tolerance of the new authorities turned out to be simple - the eagle crowning the obelisk was not only a symbol of military prowess, honor and glory, but also a symbol of the Romanian state. Moreover, similar monuments in honor of the heroes of the First World War then began to appear in the kingdom itself. Therefore, they did not demolish the monument, but simply adapted it for their own purposes.
On January 24 (February 6), 1919, on the day of the first anniversary of the independence of the Moldavian Democratic Republic, it was reopened, but now not in memory of the valiant ancestors, but in honor of the accession of Bessarabia to Romania. Previously facing the main road of the fortress, the eagle was turned 180 degrees - towards the Dniester, along which the border with Soviet Russia passed. (Fig. 12), and the old inscriptions are covered with white marble boards. On one of them was engraved: "27 MARTIE 1918. ONTOARCEREA BASARABIEI LA PATRIA MUMĂ" (“March 27, 1918 Return of Bessarabia to the motherland”). These changes can be seen in a photograph published in Romania in the form of a postcard "Monumentul şi biserica din cetatea Tighina" ("Monument and Church in the Bendery Fortress") no later than 1925.
In this form, the monument existed until the establishment of Soviet power in the city in 1940, when, probably, the Romanian boards were dismantled. The eagle continued to look east until at least August 1944. This is evidenced by the frames of the film "Victory in the South" (directed by L.V. Varlamov), filmed after the liberation of the city by operators of the Central Documentary Film Studio (Fig. 12). However, by 1949 he had already returned to his original position. But the traces of all the transformations smeared with cement are easy to notice on the monument today. Also, potholes reminiscent of the Great Patriotic War are still clearly visible on the obelisk. Their appearance could be related to the explosion that occurred in the area of the Bendery fortress on August 3, 1944, or to its shelling by Soviet artillery.
In the first half of the 1960s, the monument to the glory of the 55th Podolsky Infantry Regiment was taken outside the fortress and installed facing its ramparts on Engels Street (now Panina; N 46.83323 °, E 29.48557 °), where the Eagle is located to this day day. At the site of the former location of the monument, just 2–3 meters to the east, a military box made of prefabricated reinforced concrete subsequently appeared. In 2018, it was dismantled, using part of the structural elements as the basis for the exhibition hall under construction (opened on October 7 of the same year).
The new version of the monument, although it was significantly similar to the previous one, had several differences. They are easy to spot when comparing photographs from 1912 and the 1960s. So, changes are visible in the stairs leading to the base of the monument: it has grown with two steps, which may indicate an increase in the height of the hill; the shape and bending lines of its sidewalls have changed, and decorative flower vases have appeared at their bases.
From the photographs, you can also see that by the end of the 1970s, due to the subsidence of soil on the hill, another step appeared at the base of the obelisk (Fig. 13). In the late 1980s, the monument to the glory of the Podillians was renovated. The steps of the stairs were finished with granite, combining the two lower ones into one, and the base of the monument was covered with tiles, partially covering the lower part of the obelisk with it. At the same time, they did not raise the level of the earth on the hill. At the same time, apparently, the flowerpots were removed. Over the years, the five-part eagle itself has also changed - its wings have sagged (the left one is of particular concern), and the platform on which it is installed has received significant stone chips.
In the midst of the Moldovan-Pridnestrovian armed conflict in the summer of 1992, the threat of destruction once again loomed over the monument. On the night of June 22-23, a bloody drama broke out next to him: as a result of heavy fire opened on a column of Pridnestrovian guards departing from the Bendery fortress, according to the Information Agency Novosti Pridnestrovya, 48 people died and 120 were injured, of which 25 subsequently died. But the Eagle, hit by bullets, as before, continued to stand in its place.
At the initiative of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the PMR, on August 12, 2006, next to the monument, on its western side, the remains of the commander of the 2nd brigade of the 14th infantry division, Lieutenant General P.P. Dubelt (1827–1904), the commandant of the Bendery fortress, General Major A. I. Vedemeyer (1768–1831) and the commander of the Don Cossack battery, military foreman M. F. Khoperskov (?–1891). Before that, they rested in the old Russian military (now the Military Historical Memorial) cemetery. Two months later, on October 8, tombstones were opened on the graves.
On August 29, 2018, for the first time in the city, a tourist sign with a QR code was installed at the monument of glory to the 55th Podolsk Infantry Regiment, by which now any smartphone user could get brief information about the monument in Russian and English on the spot. However, at the time of writing this article, in February 2019, the requested page was not available.
As early as July 3, 1945, in accordance with the instructions of the Department of Architecture under the Council of People's Commissars of the MSSR, the Bendery fortress was taken under protection by the executive committee of the Bendery City Council as an architectural and historical monument of the Moldavian SSR. From now on in the fortress were banned "any kind of reconstruction, dismantling, completion and other types of work that could lead to a change in the shape and design of these monuments, as well as its destruction".
A similar decision, guided by the Decree of the Council of Ministers of the MSSR No. 1100 of August 20, 1949, was adopted by the Bendery City Executive Committee on November 4 of the same year. In accordance with it, from now on, not only the fortress was subject to state protection, but also, as a separate unit, the “Monument-Obelisk to the 55th Podolsk Regiment”, as well as a monument erected on the mass graves of Soviet soldiers in the outskirts of the Caucasus. However, as we know, in the future it did not help any of them.
On June 18, 2002, the "Monument to the 55th Podolsk Regiment" was entered in the State Register of Monuments of Republican and Local Significance of the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic under number 52 as a monument of history and monumental art of republican significance. The following year, on December 11, the Bendery City Council of People's Deputies included the "Monument of Russian Glory (Eagle)" in the List of local symbols and objects that are local symbols, after the Bendery fortress and the Transfiguration Cathedral.
I think I won’t be mistaken if I assume that the majority of townspeople learned about the existence of a monument to Podolsk soldiers in Bendery only after it was moved to Engels Street. Indeed, during the Soviet period, the entrance to the fortress, which was still a military facility, was closed to civilians. Now the monument has become available to everyone. In 1964, his picture (photographer A. Molodchenko) was published for the first time after a long break in the newspapers Leninskoe Znamya and Culture of Moldovei, and two years later the mosaic panel Old Bendery (artists: M. A. Burya, V. A. Obukh) with the image of the monument decorated the waiting room of the newly built building of the Bendery bus station. Since then, at the "Eagle", one of the oldest monuments in Moldova, they began to meet and see off honored guests of the city, images of the monument began to appear in guidebooks, minted on commemorative medals and badges. "Eagle" has become the emblem of the mineral natural table water "Varnitsa" produced and bottled since 1964 by the Bendery brewery.
The monument did not lose popularity even after the collapse of the Soviet Union (Fig. 14). In 1998, 1999, 2008, 2012 and 2017, seven postage stamps with his image were issued in Pridnestrovie, and since 2000, the monument can be seen on banknotes in denominations of 25 Pridnestrovian rubles. Also, in different years, the image of the monument adorned the front page of the city newspapers Pobeda (1990–1991) and Novoye Vremya (since 2016). In 2007, on the initiative of the Minister of Internal Affairs of the PMR V.N. Krasnoselsky and under the auspices of the Vice-President of the PMR A.I. with the exception of 2013-2016 - the period of the presidency of E. V. Shevchuk).
Today, among the numerous sights of the city, the monument to Podolsk soldiers occupies a special place. He, the only one of the monuments erected in Bender before the revolution of 1917, managed not only to survive all the ups and downs of the 20th century, but also to become one of the main symbols of the city. Despite this, the state of "Eagle" leaves much to be desired. It is currently in need of a comprehensive scientific restoration. But, alas, the experience of recent years shows that any "restoration" of monuments carried out in Pridnestrovie carries an even greater danger for them than all-consuming time.
Let the posterity know...A. S. Pushkin
Benders. - On the centennial anniversary of the Great Patriotic War, on the day of the glorious Battle of Borodino on August 26, the 55th Podolsky Infantry Regiment celebrated a triple holiday: both the glorious anniversary of the Patriotic War, and the uncelebrated, thanks to maneuvers, regimental holiday, and the opening of the monument to Podolsky soldiers, fallen in the difficult time of the Patriotic War.
The erected monument is as follows: on the site, opposite the officers' assembly, among the greenery of trees, a round mound rises, on it a plinth is arranged, on which an obelisk of dark gray granite is erected, and on top of the obelisk, proudly spreading and raising its wings, a bronze eagle soars. Inscriptions: on the front side, at the top: “Descendants to valiant ancestors”, below: “From the 55th Podolsky Infantry Regiment”, and on the back side - a list of battles in which the regiment participated in 1812. The slopes of the mound and the entire site are dotted with lawns.
The laying of the monument was completed on June 10, and on August 24 all work on the construction and arrangement of the square was completed.
By the morning of August 26, the whole fortress took on a festive look. The site near the monument, the barracks, individual houses, the officers' meeting, etc., were all decorated with national flags, and in some places with banners. On the fortress boulevard, near the officers' meeting, a huge tent was spread out for the upcoming ceremonial dinner, nearby were two tents made of signal sea flags, which were supposed to serve as kiosks for refreshing drinks during the ball in the evening.
On August 26, at 10 am, a solemn divine service began in the fortress church. By this time, the regiment was lined up at the monument in peace, and the banners, including 31, and the rest of the regalia were brought into the church.
At about 11 1/2 o'clock, at the foot of the monument covered with a white veil, the service began.
During the Royal Prayer, during the proclamation of many years to the Sovereign Emperor, the curtains fell from the monument, revealing the obelisk and the eagle crowning it, with wings proudly raised upwards. This was followed by a memorial service for the slain soldiers and a second prayer service, on the occasion of the consecration of the monument, after which the regiment went on a ceremonial march.
As the banners were taken away, the regiment was released to the barracks, where a plentiful, improved dinner awaited the lower ranks, and the invited and officers of the regiment went to dinner at the regiment's meeting.
In the evening, a ball was held in the hall of the officers' meeting.
The next day, August 27, from 5 pm on the vast Petrovsky Square, various games of the lower ranks for prizes took place.
When it got dark, on the stage arranged on the square, live pictures were staged by the lower ranks under the guidance of officers, the plot of which was episodes from the Patriotic War. Then a magnificent, varied firework was immediately burned.
February 12 (25), 1913
CELEBRATION OF THE ANNIVERSARY OF THE PATRIOTIC WAR IN BENDER
Church celebrations on the occasion of the anniversary of the Patriotic War in Bendery began on Saturday [August 25 (September 7) - A. T.].
On Saturday morning, a funeral liturgy was performed for Emperor Alexander I and those who fell in the war of 1812. The Liturgy was performed by Fr. Vasily Vardzopu.
The celebration in Bender of the centenary of the Patriotic War began yesterday [August 26 (September 8) - A. T.] from early morning. Despite the cloudy weather, the cathedral square is crowded with people.
By 8 o'clock, students from secondary and lower educational institutions with teaching staff at the head began to arrive at the cathedral square.
At 9 am, Fr. Vasily Vardzopu, in front of a crowded temple of worshipers, read an essay about 100 years old. anniversary of the Patriotic War.
Then a solemn service was served for the deliverance of Russia from the invasion of the French.
The solemn service was attended by: Bendery district police officer V.N. AV Bryukhanov and other representatives of various institutions.
At 10 1/2 o'clock in the morning, the procession from the cathedral headed along Sobornaya [now Sovetskaya] Street. to the fortress.
Upon arrival at the fortress, Fr. Alexander Orlov served a prayer and sang eternal memory to Emperor Alexander I and all the fallen soldiers of 1812. After the prayer, the solemn opening and consecration of the monument to the fallen soldiers of 1812 took place. The monument is a granite rock, on top of which a golden, two-headed eagle soars. Wreaths were laid on the monument: from a real school, a women's gymnasium, the 55th infantry. Podolsky regiment, escort team, city government, district nobility, Bendery Zemstvo, Bend. Eng. commissions. After the consecration of the monument, Brigadier Russiano addressed the students with a warm, heartfelt word. After explaining the significance of 1812 for Russia, he expressed the firm hope that the youth of today would develop in themselves the same qualities that had saved Russia in 1812.
In the morning there was a festive revival in the city. All shops were closed all day. The city was decorated with flags during the day and illuminated in the evening.
During the celebrations, an orchestra of music 55 infantry played. Podolsky regiment.
August 27 (September 9), 1912
From our correspondents
The celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Patriotic War on August 26 was concentrated mainly in the fortress, where the opening and consecration of the monument to the soldiers of the 53rd [correctly - 55th] Podolsk Infantry Regiment, who fell in the Patriotic War, was timed to coincide with the anniversary, now located in our city.
In the fortress, at 12 o'clock. day, the location of the monument gathered: the clergy, city and military [leadership], commanders of military units, deputations from the city, zemstvo, educational institutions, regiments and military units located in Bendery, and invited persons.
The monument to the Podets is a block, on top of which there is an eagle with outstretched wings.
At the foot of the monument there were standard-bearers with all the banners of the Podolsky regiment and sentries in historical uniforms. Around the monument were lined up: the Podolsk regiment in full force, parts of the troops of the local garrison and students. At the end of the service, a parade was made to the troops and the Highest order for the army and navy was read on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Patriotic War.
The celebration ended with a national anthem, accompanied by shouts of "Hurrah" and a ceremonial march of troops. Wreaths were laid on the monument from the city, the Zemstvo, the women's gymnasium, the real school, etc.
On the same day, in one of the local synagogues (new), with a large gathering of people, a memorial service was served for Emperor Alexander I and the soldiers who fell in the Patriotic War, after which a prayer service was performed for the health of the Sovereign Emperor and the entire Reigning House. Official rabbi Derbarimdiker uttered a word appropriate to the occasion. Then, at the initiative of the vowel of the Duma, Y. Imas, a telegram was sent through the Bessarabian governor to the Sovereign Emperor, expressing the loyal feelings of the Bendery Jewish community.
August 29 (September 11), 1912
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Archive of photos and drawings
scientific department of the State Unitary Enterprise IVMK “Bendery Fortress” related to the object under study.