World Monuments Fund in Russia
Russia holds an enduring fascination for architectural conservationists. The periods of perestroika and glasnost have revealed a country that has fought, often on limited resources, to preserve its vast architectural heritage. In the aftermath of the Second World War, if those in the West saw a razed area as an opportunity to build something modern, in the East it was often viewed as a chance to re-create something that was lost. Just outside St. Petersburg, the destroyed Pavlosk Palace and the Catherine Palace in Tsarskoye Selo, and the even grander Peterhof Palace were painstakingly re-constructed at a time when the country had no means to do so. When the World Monuments Fund embarked on its first Russian projects in 1996, it made sense to start in St. Petersburg, Peter the Great’s city, a vast drawing board for European architects from Domenico Trezzini to Carlo Rossi. A paucity of compromizing development makes the city a museum of architecture. This legacy is due in part to the city state inspectorate, the St. Petersburg Committee for the Preservation of Historical and Cultural Monuments (KGIOP), with whom WMF has worked closely over the past decade.