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Unveiling of Busts of Boris Pasternak and Pietro Zveteremich in Messina and Anna Akhmatova in Taormina

The Centre for National Glory (CNG), the St. Andrew the First-Called Foundation (AFF), the Russky Mir Foundation and the Foundation for Slavic Literature and Culture held a ceremonial unveiling of busts of Boris Pasternak and the Italian slavicist Pietro Zveteremich on 10 July, 2015 in Messina (Italy).

The unveiling was held on the grounds of the Department of Ancient and Modern Culture of the University of Messina. The ceremony was opened by Giovanni Cupaiuolo, coordinator of the board of regents of the University of Messina: “Today is an extraordinary day for us. We have brought to fruition an idea conceived many years ago, when the Russian Foundation approached us with an initiative to honour the memory of a great Italian slavicist. We had to make a strategic decision about where to place the busts, either within or outside the university walls. My unequivocal opinion was that there was no doubt that it should be outside, as this will allow us to honour the memory of the great writer and the great slavicist before the public at large.”

An address was then presented by the Vice President of the St. Andrew the First-Called Foundation and the Centre for National Glory, Ms. N. Yakunina.

“The unveiling of the busts of Boris Pasternak and the translator Pietro Zveteremich is another event in the long line of projects under the international programme of the St. Andrew the First-Called Russky Mir Foundation in Sicily. It is truly surprising how many things connect this bounteous and hospitable land with Russia. And most of all we acknowledge the people of Sicily, who have kept a love for our country in their hearts over the course of generations.”


RF general consul in Palermo M.V. Kolombet then spoke of how warm and friendly the people of Messina are to Russians and to Russia in general. He recalled that the roots of this relationship stretch back to 1908, when Russian sailors were the first to arrive to provide assistance in the aftermath of the massive earthquake in the Gulf of Messina.

After taking a group photograph, the academic conference “Italy in the crossroads of destinies: Anna Akhmatova, Boris Pasternak, Pietro Zveteremich” was held


After a lunch, flowers were laid at the monument to the Russian naval rescue workers.

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A monument to the Russian sailors that provided assistance after the massive earthquake in the Gulf of Messina in 1908 was ceremoniously unveiled in 2012 under the auspices of the Russky Mir programme of the AFF and the CHG. The square where the monument stands was named the “Square of the Russian Sailors” in 2013. A bust of holy and righteous admiral St. Fyodor Ushakov was erected in this “Russian Corner” in April 2013.

A formal dinner was held on the evening of 10 July with a reception for honoured members of the Foundation: director of customs for the city of Messina Ivan Santi Spina, deputy director of customs for the city of Messina Nicolà Salvo, customs official Renato Giardina and deputy head of the Ministry for Investment and Development Sergio Spadaro.

A ceremonial unveiling of a bust of Anna Akhmatova was held on the morning of 11 July 2005 in Taormina.

Alfio Auteri, director of the Mazzullo Foundation, opened the ceremony.

“It is a great honour for us to receive such a dignified Russian delegation. We have general points of contact, as the Mazzullo Foundation also devotes a great deal of attention to culture-related projects. We are pleased to continue such sincere, heartfelt joint projects between our foundations.”

Yakunina, vice president of the St. Andrew the First-Called and Centre for National Glory Foundation, then spoke of how three years ago, when the monument to the Russian sailors was raised in Messina and the bust of Tsar Nicholas II in Taormina, nobody imagined that the endeavours of the St. Andrew and Centre for Russian Glory Foundation would spark so much interest and receive such marked support in Sicily.

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“The grand duchess of Russian poetry” – that is how Akhmatova was known in Italy. Akhmatova herself was in love with Italian poetry; she knew Dante well, and a significant portion of her creative output consists of translations from Italian. “We are extremely pleased and heartened by the fact that a city that remembers Akhmatova’s sojourn there will now be graced with her sculpture. Let it become a symbol of continuity of eras, and of the firm friendship between our countries”, Yakunina said.


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