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Sitka offers reward after Baranov statue slashed

Posted: July 26, 2013 - 12:05am

SITKA — A $500 reward is being offered by the City of Sitka to find out who vandalized a statue of Alexander Baranov, the successful fur-trade and merchant who went on to become the first governor of Russian Alaska.

Someone took a bladed instrument to the statue that stands in front of Centennial Hall, and made seven cuts on Baranov’s head.

City officials said the damage was likely done sometime last month, but was only discovered this week, KCAW reported.

Interim Municipal Administrator Jay Sweeney will provide the money from his office’s discretionary fund.

“We’re hoping the person will own up to it and say, ‘I did it, I’ll take the consequences,’” Sweeney said, while noting the chances are slim that will happen.

“We’re better than that as a town. We shouldn’t be tearing (things) apart. We should be taking care of them,” Sweeney said.

Police Lt. Barry Allen said vandals also hit the statue on the bridge of the nose.

The statue normally stands on a pedestal, but is currently on the ground level while the plaza is being renovated.

It’s not the first time the statue has been vandalized. Someone tried to saw off the statue’s nose before it was unveiled.

Baranov is the namesake of the island where Sitka is located. He managed the Russian-American Co. in the early 1800s, but holds a controversial place in Alaska history.

Around Oct. 1, 1804, Baranov’s cannons and conscripted Aleut warriors forced the Kiks.adi clan to abandon their fortress near what is now downtown Sitka. From the stronghold it gained in the Battle of Sitka, Russia later claimed all of Alaska.

The reward also covers the slashing of new trees planted along Harbor Drive.

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