Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard
After “decommunisation” Ukraine started fighting against the monumental heritage of the Russian Empire…
The Institute of History of National Academy of Sciences, Kiev. Here the conference “Monumental heritage of the Russian Empire in Ukraine: Peter I, Catherine II, Suvorov, and Kutuzov aren’t heroes of Ukrainian history” took place. Besides scientists from the National Academy of Sciences, representatives of the Ukrainian Institute of National Memory, the Ukrainian Association for Protection of Historical and Cultural Monuments, and the Odessa National I.I. Mechnikov University came to the conference.
As is known, the head of Institute of National Memory and former archivist of the SBU, the Galician Vladimir Vyatrovich became the main organiser and inspirer of the total destruction of monuments of the Soviet era. Thugs from Euromaidan hysterically destroyed several Lenin monuments in Kiev and Dnepropetrovsk. But Vyatrovich made this process systematic and brought the destruction of communist monuments to each village. His orders are perceived at the level of the governmental program.
Now, when even the pedestals of “Bolshevist executioners” don’t remain, the winner-Banderists set their sights on the hated Russian Empire. During the Kiev academic conference Peter I, Catherine II, and also the commanders Aleksandr Suvorov and Mikhail Kutuzov were accused of being propaganda of the Russian world. It was especially noted that the monuments to well-known historical characters established in Ukraine are used to mobilise the electorate of pro-Russian political forces.
The doctor of historical sciences and director of Research Institute of the Cossacks Taras Chukhlib stated that it is necessary to revise the concept of the museum exposition at the National historical-cultural park “Field of the Battle of Poltava“.
“The new concept must be based on deeper illumination of the place of Ukraine in the Great Northern war of 1700−1721 and a broad representation of its participants, which will positively be reflected in the tourist appeal of the museum to guests from the countries of Europe,” said Mr Chukhlib.
In other words, now the main heroes of the Battle of Poltava will become the Hetman of Zaporizhian Host Ivan Mazepa…well… and also the Swedish king Charles XII. Together they practically defeated “the Moskal occupiers” and the “bloody Tsar Peter”. Only a sad surprise prevented Ukrainians at the beginning of the 18th century from entering into the desired Europe. Such a turn of events must, according to Taras Chukhliba, attract crowds of West European tourists, which will replace the Russians who ceased to come here since 2014 to Poltava.
With all the delirium about the Mazepa-style reformatting, the management of the Battle of Poltava Museum received a clear instruction to quickly revise the historical concept and to essentially change the exposition. Besides this, at a December meeting at the Institute of History of National Academy of Sciences it was decided to appeal to the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine about the need to dismantle the monument to Suvorov on the territory of the Kiev military lyceum of Ivan Bogun.
This lyceum was founded on the basis of the Kiev Suvorov Military School, well-known all over the Soviet Union. Suvorov Military School students of many generations defended the monument to the great commander, who they consider as their mascot. Lately the dashing figure of the Russian generalissimo was covered by a multi-meter banner with the image of the Cossack ataman Bogun, one of the associates of Bogdan Khmelnytsky.
Now the bronze Suvorov in Kiev will be finally removed. The command was given to cleanse the province in the same way. The local authorities received the order to “not heroise or immortalise with monuments historical persons who assisted the imperial enslavement of Ukraine during different historical periods”.
Perhaps the most characteristic example of anti-imperial cleansing will become the dismantlement of Odessa’s Catherine II. “To appeal to the Odessa City Council with the offer to execute court decisions concerning the illegality of the installation of a monument to Catherine II in Odessa,” it is said in the message on the website of the Ukrainian Institute of National Memory. The message is signed by Vyatrovich personally. I.e., it is obligatory for execution by the local authorities.
In reality, they lie even in the name itself. This monument is called the Monument to the founders of Odessa. Together with Catherine the Great, on the granite pedestal there are her legendary associates — de Ribas, de Wollant, Potemkin, and Zubov, whose efforts built the city and the port near the Khadjibey estuary. The grateful inhabitants of Odessa established a monument to them in 1900. Soon after this, at the World Fair in Paris, Ekaterininskaya Square was recognised as the best in Europe. The monument was dismantled for the first time after the October revolution. In the autumn of 1941 the square was renamed in honour of Adolf Hitler.
The Russian empress stood in place for the second time in 2007. All the city by the sea collected money for the monument. Leonid Kuchma tried to forbid it, Viktor Yushchenko unleashed militants of OUN and fascist “Svoboda“ against it. The revival of the imperial monument became one of the main political sensations of Yushchenko’s time. The “orange” president [orange revolution – ed] protested — after all, Catherine II dispersed the Zaporozhye Sich and was the “executioner of the Ukrainian people”. Crowds of nationalists from Kiev and Lvov moved to Odessa. But back then the inhabitants of Odessa literally kicked uninvited guests out of the city, having smashed their physiognomies directly on Ekaterininskaya Square.
A characteristic detail. Shortly before Maidan Yanukovych put in prison one of the most known Odessa deputies Igor Markov, who called to join the Customs union. The accusation that Markov beat up Banderists who attempted to destroy the monument to the Russian empress Catherine the Great was the official reason for his arrest.
Professor of the Odessa National I.I. Mechnikov University Taras Goncharuk read out his report at the conference at the Institute of History of the National Academy of Sciences. This is one more doctor of historical sciences who in his own way analysed the historical and legal circumstances of the establishment of the Odessa monuments to the empress Catherine II in 2007 and the monument to the commander A.V. Suvorov in 2012. It is the female students-“arsonists” of Sir Goncharuk who created “Molotov cocktails”, with which people in the House of Trade Unions were burned. It is precisely he who is the main initiator of the renaming of Odessa into Kotsyubeevsk. And now he tries to prove the “illegality” of the monument to Catherine.
In October, 2014, the militants of punitive battalions were purposefully dragged into Odessa. This was reported with a barefaced threat by the press service of the Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine for the Odessa region. First of all, it mentioned fanatic nazis from the “Azov“ battalion subordinated to the Dnepropetrovsk governor Igor Kolomoisky. Already back then Banderists intended to demolish monuments to Pushkin and Catherine II.
Organizers of the Odessa “March of heroes” confirmed that the armed militants of “Azov” will become the spine of a torchlight procession in the city center. It is the same technology that during the May “Odessa Massacre“, when the city was occupied by the West Ukrainian bandits of the Secretary of the Secretary of the National Security and Defence Council Andrey Parubiy and groups of “fanatics” of Kolomoisky.
Besides “Azov”, another punitive battalion – “Kiev-1” – was urgently dragged here from the ATO zone. According to operational information, the main task of the torchlight “March of heroes” was to destroy the monument to the “Founders of the city” on Ekaterininskaya Square and Aleksandr Pushkin’s bust on Dumskaya Square. A stone’s throw away there is Potemkin stairs and the well-known Duke de Richelieu. These symbolic places of Odessa were chosen by gangs of youth of Maidan Self-defense and “Right Sector“.
It seemed to some that the wild beasts limit themselves to destroying monuments to Lenin. Exactly in the same way that in the summer of 1941 some inhabitants of Odessa hoped for the “European culture” of Hitlerites. And very quickly they laid in the execution ditches.
In order to add at least some legality to the dismantlement of the monument to the “Founders of the city”, the new authorities initiated an extraordinary meeting concerning this matter … in the foundation of cultural heritage of monuments of architecture and culture. It looks like an aberration, but three years ago in Odessa such a question was indeed discussed! The mass collection of signatures in defence of Odessa’s relics became the answer to this. In a few days more than 10,000 citizens recorded their names against the demolition of monuments to Catherine II and Pushkin.
Because of the active collecting of signatures the meeting of the city foundation of cultural heritage was postponed. But the Banderists decided not to wait for the official decision. Especially as it turned out that under the Ukrainian administration the monuments to Pushkin and Catherine II weren’t yet entered into the state register as objects of cultural heritage. This means it is possible to, quite with impunity, wrap a cable around the neck of the Poet and to plentifully mock the bronze Empress.
Yes, the seaside city is intimidated into dumbness by the cruelty of the “Odessa Massacre”. Especially because the punitive battalions “Azov” and “Kiev-1” arrived here, which got used to covering the land of Donbass with blood, and who became skilled at murdering civilians. Staging one more night massacre wouldn’t be difficult for them.
However, in November, 2014, Catherine the Great remained standing. The main contingent of the armed Banderists suddenly left. Why? The answer is simple. Back then Russian-speaking cannon fodder was needed for the ATO. Tens of thousands of Russian-speaking inhabitants of the South of Ukraine were sent to Donbass in order to kill Russians. There was a need to convince them that supposedly we are all Ukrainians battling against “Putin’s aggression”. In such a state of affairs it wasn’t appropriate to touch the empress. But now it is the right time. The nazis [of Poroshenko – ed] want to return the name of Adolf Hitler to Ekaterininskaya Square [like in 1941 – ed].
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