Monument to Count Vorontsov

Mikhail Vorontsov (1782-1856) – famous military and government leader, governor-general of the Novorossiysk Territory and Bessarabia from the 1823. He spent his childhood and adolescence in England, where his father, Counter S. Vorontsov, lived for more than 40 years. Being brought up and educated in England, which decented young English lord, Vorontsov returned to Russia in 1801 to enlist. In 1802 he took part in the Russo-Turkish and Russian-French War in 1812, and commanded a division in the army of Bagration where he was wounded in the Borodino Battle. In 1815-1818 he was a commander of the occupation corps in France, where he met the Countess E.K. Branitskaya. Their wedding took place on April 20, 1819 in Paris. In 1823 he was appointed as a Governor-General of Novorossia and Bessarabia; and remained in that post for 21 years. He spent a lot of efforts on the economic development of these regions, particularly in Odessa and Crimea, especially on the navigation organization in the Black Sea.

Governor General patronized to Alexander Pushkin, who was exiled to the south. It is assumed that the friction between them began because of the passion of the poet to Vorontsov’s wife. However, there is also an opinion that actually Vorontsov was just unhappy with Pushkin as an employee (it should be recalled that he was in the public service and worked under the command of Vorontsov).

In 1856, on the day of Alexander II coronation, Vorontsov was granted to General Marshal. He died in the same year, on the 6th November in Odessa, where he was buried in the nearby of the cathedral church.

His authority, love and respect of the citizens were so great that soon after the death of Vorontsov on the extraordinary meeting of the Society of Agriculture of South Russia, the president of which he was, unanimously approved a proposal to build a monument to him. Many people took part in collecting money for the construction of the monument. Initially,  37000 rubles were collected, and the contributions were from a few thousand to a few rubles. Donations came from all corners of the Russian Empire.

The monument project was made by famous sculptor F.Brugger. Architect – F.K. Boffo. The monument consists of a pedestal, a bronze statue and three bas-reliefs depicting the battle of Craon, the taking of Varna and agriculture and trade, which developed rapidly under the patronage of Vorontsov. The inscription on the monument should read: “His Serene Highness Prince Mikhail Semenovich Vorontsov from grateful countrymen. 1863“. But today, on the front side of the pedestal there is a laconic inscription: Vorontsov. The height of bronze figure – 3.2 m. The total height of the monument – more than 8 meters. The figure of Vorontsov, despite the enormity of the statue, bears a striking resemblance to the Prince because the sculptor took advantage of the last portrait of the Berlin master of portraiture Franz Kruger. At the request of the Committee the pedestal should be made of “ore-boulder”, produced on the southern coast of Crimea in the memory of the late Prince works in the region. Opening of the monument took place on 8 November 1863.

When in 1930s it was decided to destroy the monument, along with the Saviour-Transfiguration Cathedral, this plan did not work – chain, fixed around the monument and connected with a powerful tractor, just snapped. So the monument remained in place for centuries!