City workers in Kiev yesterday tore down an equestrian statue of Mykola Shchors, the former commander of the Red Army. The statue, erected in 1954, was removed from its pedestal by crane to the applause of a small group of onlookers. It will be stored at the State Aviation Museum, according to city officials.
The statue is the latest Soviet monument to be removed in the Ukrainian capital since Russia launched a full-scale invasion last year. Since then, the process of removing symbols from the Soviet period, which many Ukrainians see as a period of Russian imperialism, has accelerated.
“The process of de-Russification and de-communism continues,” Mykhailo Budilov, director of the capital’s regional control department, said in a statement. “We have already dismantled more than 60 monuments related to the history and culture of Russia and the Soviet Union.”
Although the removal of Soviet monuments could depend on public support, there are also Ukrainians who question whether this is the correct use of financial resources. They do not consider removing the statue a priority and would rather see the money go to the front, where fighting against the Russians has been ongoing for almost two years.
The same voices were also heard in August of this year, when the giant statue of “Mother Ukraine” was stripped of its hammer and sickle – symbols of the old Soviet Union – and instead a Ukrainian trident was raised on its shield. The then Minister of Culture, Oleksandr Tkachenko, eventually had to pay for the uproar with his resignation.
Sebas van Aert
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