Putin at Phanagoria
11 August 2011
On August 10th the Prime Minister of the Russian Federation and Chairman of the Russian Geographical Society guardian council Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin visited the excavations at Phanagoria – the largest classical-period monument in Russia.
The Prime Minister was accompanied by the Minister of Civil Defense, Emergency and Natural Disaster Relief and the President of the Russian Geographical Society S.K. Shoygu, the Governor of Krasnodar Krai A.N. Tkachev, the Presidential Envoy in the South Federal Region V.V. Ustinov, as well as the founder of the Volnoe Delo Foundation O.V. Deripaska.
Beside viewing a showcase of the excavations near the city acropolis organized by Phanagoria expedition members and the Russian Geographical Society, V.V. Putin also visited the excavation site at the Boyur Mountain burial mound, submerged with the underwater expedition’s divers into the underwater section of the classical-period city and talked at length with students from various Russian universities working on the site. He became the first person to receive the newly published 3-volume “Ancient Heritage of Kuban” academic publication (advance copies of the second and third volume had been shipped from the printing press just prior to his visit).
The head of the expedition at Phanagoria V.D. Kuznetsov recounted to his guest the work at the excavation and the most interesting archeological findings, the work that they are performing with the Russian Geographical Society and the plans for the construction of the Phanagoria Museum and Research Complex.
Russia is currently still behind Europe in the practice of creating museums and research centers at the sites of archeological excavations and monuments, where visitors can not only see the results of the dig, but actually view the process of the ongoing excavation. Yet it is a unique opportunity to present a systematic account of the monument as well as the work of scientists.
The undeveloped parts of the Phanagoria site can be used to create various installations depicting life in previous eras. Phanagoria is also the only place in the country where one can, upon leaving the museum, view the submerged section of the ancient city. The creation of a Museum of Federal Significance at Phanagoria not does justice to the significance and scope of the monument, but can become the first step in the creation of a Classical Period Black Sea Reserve Museum on the basis of the largest classical monuments in Kuban (Phanagoria, Hermonassa and Horgippia).
Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin approved the archeologist’s plans and expressed his firm belief that Taman will one day become one of the centers of Russian tourism in the south. “The world will want to see for themselves the riches we have here – I’m certain people will come from all over” – he noted. He specifically emphasized the need to act in partnerships of private sector and government.
Speaking with the Prime Minister the archeologists raised their concerns pertaining to the state of academic study in Russia – specifically, the academic regulation of field archeology conducted by the Russia Academy of Sciences (the issue of so called “blank papers”), the continued reduction of funding for studies in the humanities and student professional training - and the need to abolish archeological excavation tenders funded by the federal government (where academic organizations are forced to compete with fly-by-night companies).
V.V. Putin’s visit to Phanagoria was covered by a wide variety of media outlets, including federal television channels.
Photo: LIFENEWS and Kommersant