05 August 2009

The bicentennial of the first contacts with Russia is celebrated in a small island state of the Pacific Ocean, Vanuatu. The history of relations between the two countries begins in 1809 when the Russian sloop "Diana" under the command of the famous Admiral Vasily Golovnin arrived in Port Resoluchen on the island of Thana (modern Republic of Vanuatu).

It was decided to immortalize such a memorable event in the history of the two countries by opening a monument to Vasily Golovnin, which rightfully now decorates the center of the capital Port Vila. The municipality of the city has allocated for this purpose the most beautiful place on the shore of the bay, where on a two-meter pedestal there is a bronze bust of a sailor, whose name is carved in stone in four languages: Russian, Bislama, English and French.

The author of the Golovnin monument was Russian sculptor, People's Artist of Russia Nikolai Selivanov. He did this last work together with his son Vasily Selivanov on one enthusiasm. After all, the monument was created by donations. The idea to hold the anniversary celebrations belongs to the son of Russian immigrants, artist and collector Nikolay Mishutushushkin, who has been living and working for Vanuatu for almost half a century. His initiative was supported by the Russian Embassy in Australia. Moreover, thanks to the direct participation of Nikolai Mishutushkin and his companion Aloy Piliko, a series of anniversary stamps was published, which depicts Admiral Golovnin and the sloop "Diana".

This is not the first monument to Vasily Golovnin. In Russia, they are installed in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk and the district village of Starozhilovo, Ryazan region. The fame of the Russian navigator has also reached the shores of Japan, where Golovnin was immortalized on the island of Avadzi in the town of Goshiki together with the Japanese Takadaya, who helped to release the Russian from captivity. And the collections collected by Golovnin are still kept in the Kunstkammer treasure house in St. Petersburg to this day.

Vasily Golovnin described his journey to the islands of Vanuatu, which later became crucial in the history of relations between two such different countries in terms of culture, traditions, language, geographical remoteness, in his book "Journey of the Russian military sloop Diana in 1807, 1808 and 1809". It was published in 1819 and instantly became popular.

The article from the magazine "Wider Circle" - "OUR COMPLETELYS. VANUATU"