University unveils Pushkin sculpture

Students, professors and Russian dignitaries gathered to see the unveiling of a sculpture built in honor of Russian author Aleksandr Pushkin Wednesday.

The statue is to honor Pushkin’s memory, said Gpiaotrieff Duritry, a Russian native and specialist in Russian studies at Georgetown University. He is not only a Russian figure, but also an international figure, famous for his poetry. Many students here study Russian and Russian culture.

The Pushkin statue, which is cast from bronze and stands about eight feet tall, was erected to teach students about an important part of Russian heritage and international relations, according to University officials.

The statue was constructed by Russian sculptors Alexander and Igor Bourganov and architect Mikhail Posokin to honor the internationally-renowned Russian poet. Pushkin, who lived 1799 to 1837, is compared to Lord Byron and William Shakespeare by scholars, according to literature handed out at the event.

Pushkin supported the underground press and expressed reformist ideas, for which he was exiled and put under house arrest, according to a University press release.

On the statue, a horse on the podium above Pushkin’s shoulder commemorates a part of the poet’s legacy and Russian heritage, according to the event material. The sculptors believe the Golden Pegasus will be a symbol of Russian and American collaboration in the new millennium, according to the material.

Durity, who spoke in his native Russian tongue, said it was fitting for the memory of a famous poet to be kept alive at GW, where students research his writings and international relations is a major area of study. Durity said GW is also a good location because of its convenient location, its strong connection to Russian studies and GW professor Juras Ryfir, who is a member of the American Russian Cultural Cooperation Foundation.

Durity said he was excited to see so many GW students at the event.

After the event each speaker addressed the media about the importance to understand why Pushkin remains internationally acclaimed.

Professor Peter Rollberg said he hopes Pushkin’s work will be studied and interpreted at GW to create a better understanding of Russian culture.

Rollberg said he hopes the University will create and endow a chair in Russian literature.

University officials blocked H Street for the event.

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