There is no doubt that the project encapsulates the Putin era, which officially ends on May 7, though the President is likely to remain Russia's most powerful man in his new job as Prime Minister. The cemetery will be a testament to extravagance, a piece of architectural monumentalism intended to reflect the glory of a resurgent Russia. Drawings show that the 132-acre site will feature obelisks, golden statues of figures from Russia's past and friezes of workers in heroic poses. It is architecture from the era of heroic realism and a style of propaganda favoured by both Stalin and Hitler, a fact that has dismayed a dwindling number of liberal architects fighting the current trend of Soviet nostalgia.
The concept of a national cemetery was resurrected in the early 1990s by a state-owned body called Mosproject-4. The designer Alexander Taranin said he wanted to create a minimalist cemetery that gave a quiet and honest reflection of Russia. The Yeltsin Government ignored the project but the plans gained traction after Putin came to power in 2000.