History, traditions
Author`s name Ольга Савка

A letter of the Russian alphabet celebrates 200th anniversary

The monument should immortalize the letter exactly in the same shape as it was first printed in the almanac Aonidy in 1797

In accordance with the decision of the city architectural council, a monument to the Russian letter ё should be erected in the city of Ulyanovsk. The original idea of putting a monument in Ulyanovsk, a birthplace of Mikhail Karamzin, the father of the letter, dates back to 1997.

The year 1997 saw the 200th anniversary of the letter ё (reads as 'yo'). The idea won fresh popularity in 2001 when an All-Russian contest for the best design of the monument was held.

There were a lot of entries to the contest. Professional artists and amateurs, adults and children sent their designs for consideration of the jury. Alexander Zinin, the man behind the 1997 commemorations and the concept of a monument, won the contest. His design will be used for manufacturing a monument, RIA Novosti reports citing the press service of the Ulyanovsk mayor's office.

According to Mr. Zinin, the monument should immortalize the letter exactly in the same shape as it was first printed in the almanac Aonidy in 1797. The letter ё first appeared in a word слёзы (Russian for 'tears' - reads as 'slyozy') on page 166 of the book. “The monument will feature a multiplied lower-case letter with all those irregularities of the print,” said Mr. Zinin.

The monument to the letter ё should be manufactured from red granite. A copy of the letter should be embedded in the granite. As by plan, the monument will be installed in the Karamzin garden. The garden has a monument to the historiographer.

Mr. Zimin does not think that the letter ё is falling out of use these days. According to him, people have become keen to learn more about the letter after the original idea of a monument began circulating through the city of Ulyanovsk.

The artist believes that the monument to the letter “will send us back to those values that were accidentally forgotten.” He is confident that the alphabet has an inner, deeper meaning.

“We are getting wiser as we unravel the ancient texts,” said Mr. Zinin. He is currently writing a book on the alphabet systems.