Much recent literature in cultural, political and social geography has considered the relationship between identity, memory, and the urban landscape. This paper interrogates such literature through exploring the complex materialisation of memorialisation in post-Soviet Russia. Using the example of the statue of General Alexei Ermolov in Stavropol’, an analysis of the cityscape reveals interethnic tensions over differing interpretations of the life and history of the person upon whom the statue is based. The existence of a rich literature on Ermolov and the Russian colonial experience in the North Caucasus helps to explain this. The symbolic cityscape of Stavropol’ plays an important role in interethnic relations in the multi-ethnic city; it is both an arena through which Russian identity is communicated with people and produced and reproduced, and an arena through which Russian citizens compete with each other for authority on historical narratives that operate at and between a number of scales. People’s readings of the cityscape can reveal much about power and space in contemporary Russia.