While Russia inaugurates new monuments to Stalin, Ukraine distances itself from communism and denounces that totalitarian ideology.
In 2015, the Verkhovna Rada Ukraine passed a law condemning totalitarian dictatorships, both communism and Nazism, and banning their symbols in the country. The application of this law had been very slow until the Russian invasion of Ukraine began on February 24, 2022, but the increasing vindication of the Putin regime with the Soviet dictatorship (which prohibited by law to equate with the Nazi dictatorship, even imposing prison sentences) and the installation of communist paraphernalia in Ukraine by the invaders has accelerated the cleaning of communist symbols by the Ukrainians .
That cleanup has included the removal of tens of thousands of streets that paid tribute to leaders or well-known figures of the Soviet communist dictatorship, the regime that perpetrated the terrible genocide of the Holodomor in Ukraine. Soviet monuments have also been removed, including a bust of communist dictator Brezhnev in Kamianskyi. But one of Ukraine's most famous monuments still sported a huge communist emblem in the country's capital itself: the Motherland Statue in Kiev, inaugurated by the USSR in 1981.
On July 13, 2023, the State Architectural and Urban Planning Inspectorate of Ukraine announced a change to the Kiev Motherland Statue, after a consultation involving 800,000 Ukrainians, with 85% voting in favor of removing the communist emblem it bore the statue on his shield. The emblem represented, specifically, the official coat of arms of the Soviet Union, the totalitarian regime that invaded Ukraine after the country regained its independence in 1917, after the fall of Tsarism, and which committed all kinds of human rights violations in the country. For many Ukrainians, keeping that emblem was as painful as keeping a Nazi swastika.
Instead of that communist emblem, the statue's coat of arms will bear the Trýzub, the trident that appears on the national coat of arms of Ukraine. To carry out this change, a fundraiser has been carried out to pay for the 28 million grivnas (about 687,000 euros) that it will cost to carry out the change. The Ukrainian emblem is being manufactured from stainless steel. In addition to this change in its coat of arms, the monument will be renamed "Mother Ukraine".
The Ministry of Culture and Information Policy of Ukraine today announced the beginning of the removal of the communist emblem: "For Independence Day, August 24, the monument will officially receive a new symbol: the Ukrainian trident."
The statue, made of stainless steel, is 62 meters high, reaching 102 meters if its pedestal is added. The sword that he raises in his right hand measures 16 meters, while the shield measures 13 meters high by 8 meters wide. For the removal of the communist emblem, some scaffolding has been hung on the top of the shield, placed from the observation platform behind it. Inside the statue are two elevators, one of which goes up to the head. It can also be raised up to both hands.
Main photo: Viktor Byvshev / National History Museum of Ukraine.
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