The France-Russia Friendship Monument

Franco-Russian Friendship Monument on Mikhailovskaia Street, 1902
     

his monument was erected in 1902 as a symbol of renewed diplomatic zeal for relations with France – inaugurated by Alexander III in 1893 – and upon the occasion of French President Loubet’s arrival in Petersburg. Loubet’s visit, following that of Félix Faure in 1897, was meant to underscore the preponderance of France’s newly-established rapport with Russia. Click here to view a photograph of Nevsky Prospekt on the occasion of President Loubet’s arrival.

Loubet was present for the opening ceremonies of this monument, which portrays a statuary encounter between France and Russia. Whereas a Marianne-like maiden embodies the République, a male figure coiffed in a fur-lined shapka Monomakha, symbolizes pre-Petrine autocracy in Russia. This Russian figure presents the French maiden with a bouquet of flowers. Both are cloaked in togas and bear symbols of national specificity: the French maiden grasps a shield bearing the initials of the République Française. Haut-relief carvings of Paris’s and Petersburg’s coat-of-arms adorn the pedestal of the monument.