The embarrassment of Rome on the profile of the patron of a construction site on the Roman forum

Rome. “Pecunia non olet. » If money has no smell according to the Roman emperor Vespasian, its owner has a nationality. Which can be embarrassing. This is the case of that of the main patron at the origin of what the transalpine press has baptized “the anastylosis of discord”. This archaeological term refers to the technique of reconstructing a ruined monument in which modern materials are mixed with fragments found on site. Different in color and quality, you can distinguish old from modern with the naked eye.

At the very end of 2023, fragments of columns from the Ulpia basilica located at the entrance to the Forums in Rome were thus straightened on their original bases with the addition of contemporary elements. They are now silhouetted against the horizon at a height of 23 meters. An anastylosis whose scientific interest and aesthetic taste have been strongly criticized.

This is not the main reason for the discreet inauguration of the monument. Because its erection was made possible thanks to the generosity of the Uzbek oligarch Alisher Ousmanov. This metals and telecoms magnate paid 1.5 million euros. Not much for a man whose fortune is estimated at 13.5 billion euros according to the American economic magazine Forbes. It was close to 19 billion euros before the start of the war in Ukraine and the sanctions it received. Alicher Ousmanov is in fact a friend of President Vladimir Putin who granted him Russian citizenship. The German authorities, however, seized 30 paintings, worth nearly 5 million euros, and his 600 million dollar yacht, 156 meters long, which was anchored in the port of Hamburg.

Alicher Ousmanov does not hide his passion for art. In 2015, during a dinner with the mayor of Rome at the time Ignazio Marino, he took out his wallet to finance the construction of the Ulpia basilica built in the first century under the reign of Trajan. In 2017, he paid 300,000 euros to restore the frescoes in the room of the Horatii and the Curiatii (the Horseman of Arpin) of the Capitoline Museums in Rome. The Eternal City also thanked him for the 200,000 euros which made it possible to clean the statues of the Dioscuri in front of the Quirinal Palace. It was before the war in Ukraine. Since then, Alicher Ousmanov has lost his odor of sanctity despite his fortune.

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