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DESPITE THE RECENT demise of the Soviet Union, democracy is increasingly less evident in the views and actions of Russia's political elite. This is quite evident in Moscow's construction of new public monuments to glorify historical figures or in the rebuilding of monumental Church buildings destroyed during the Soviet era. Aside from the enormous cost of such building programs at a time of a widening social gulf between the haves and the have nots, these buildings and monuments are conspicuous by their ugliness and their remarkable ability to ignore the historical models which some of them are supposed to replicate. The lack of attention to public opinion and the small circle of official public artists and architects reveals both the corruption rampant in Russian society and the profoundly antidemocratic tendencies that now predominate. [Moscow, public art, politics, collective memory, contested history]