The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 United States Sunday, September 22, 2019

Pro-Russians blast destruction of monuments to three Bolshevik heroes in Ukraine
Communal workers remove the toppled Soviet-era memorial for Nikolai Rudnev in Kharkiv on April 11, 2015. Masked men toppled three statues of Communist leaders overnight Friday on Ukraine's city of Kharkiv, days after parliament moved to purge Soviet-era symbols countrywide. AFP PHOTO / SERGEI BOBOK.

By: Sergiy Bobok with Claire Rosemberg in Kiev

KHARKIV (AFP).- Masked men toppled Soviet-era statues in night raids in Ukraine's second city Saturday, as moves to erase fraught symbols of the past widen the country's divide.

Monuments to three Bolshevik heroes were smashed in the dead of night in the Russian-speaking city of Kharkiv, close to the northeastern border with Russia, 48 hours after parliament passed controversial laws banning Nazi and Communist symbols.

Police launched a probe and the pro-Russian Opposition Bloc party, which has 40 of 450 parliamentary seats, accused Ukraine's pro-West government of undermining traditions and encouraging "chaos on the streets".

Nina Soboleva, daughter of sculptor Viktor Volovik, lamented the destruction of his statue of Russian revolutionary Nikolay Rudnev.

"It was a work of art," she sighed, urging the government to appoint a commission tasked with deciding the fate of Soviet-era monuments, which should be stored in safety in the meantime.

A video posted on YouTube by anti-Russian group "We've had enough" shows the three raids. In one instance, police can be seen looking on without intervening.

Their faces covered, the men use a ladder to hook the statues with a cable tied to a white van then which pulls away, bringing them down.

An industrial hub of 1.4 million people, Kharkiv lies about 200 kilometres (125 miles) from the fighting in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions, where pro-Russian insurgents are fighting the Kiev government in a conflict that has killed more than 6,000 people.

Kharkiv's pro-Russian mayor Gennady Kernes described the raids as "vandalism" and demanded that police "explain why they allow the illegal demolition of monuments."

Communist ban controversy 
The attack follows a ban this week on Nazi and Communist-era symbols and names that is designed to shed Ukraine's Soviet past.

The Opposition Bloc party blamed the legislation for the destruction of the Kharkiv statues, and said the government was bent on "dismantling everything, from history, to tradition, national holidays and memory."

Supporters of the ban, which was rushed through parliament Thursday and must be signed by President Petro Poroshenko before it comes into force, say it will help Ukraine break with its tragic past and with Moscow's domination through most of the 20th century.

But Moscow says Ukraine is "rewriting history", and a Russian foreign ministry statement Friday said "Kiev used truly totalitarian methods of liquidating unwanted parties, civic organisations and movements."

The law will "create divisions" and promote a "nationalist ideology", Russia said.

The legislation means that Soviet-era Lenin statues will have to be removed and streets and town squares renamed across the country of some 45 million.

And as Kiev and Moscow traded angry barbs in an escalating war of words over their shared history, Poroshenko likened Russia's support of separatist insurgents to Nazi Germany's actions in Europe in the 1930s.

"What is the difference between the Anschluss (annexation) of Austria or the occupation of Sudentenland (in ex-Czechoslovakia), and the annexation of Crimea or the attempts to tear away Donbass in 2014?" said Poroshenko.

The Donbass is a swathe of eastern Ukraine captured by separatist rebels who the West says are operating with Russia's support -- allegations denied by Moscow.

Kiev sociologist Andriy Bychenko said the parliament's anti-Soviet drive was in tune with widespread belief that Russia is fuelling the bloody rebellion in the east.

"Feelings towards the symbols of the Soviet Union have become sharply more negative since the beginning of the Russian aggression," he told AFP.

But Poroshenko's harsh tirade ahead of the 70th anniversary of the WWII victory over the Nazis is likely to deeply offend Moscow, which is planning massive May 9 celebrations.

Historian David Marples at Canada's Alberta University was critical.

"In the West, friends of Ukraine will have a difficult time accepting both the wisdom and timing of such a facile and asinine decree," he said.

"The all-encompassing rejection of any facets of the Soviet legacy is troublesome," Marples wrote. 

"The Red Army after all removed the Nazi occupation regime from Ukraine in alliance with the Western Powers." 

Soviet WWII veterans will be entitled to continue to wear their medals, however, and graves left in peace, even if inscribed with the hammer-and-sickle or other Soviet insignia.

You can watch the amateur footage of the night raids at:

© 1994-2015 Agence France-Presse

Today's News

April 13, 2015

Van Gogh and Rothko: Two masterpieces of modern art unveiled at Sotheby's London

Carnivorous dinosaurs, crocodiles and more on view in new show at the Bruce Museum

Pierre Bergé & Associés creates new Judaica department and announces sale of Isucher Ber Frydman collection

Video released by Islamic State shows destruction of the ancient Assyrian city of Nimrud

Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood celebrated in exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria

Exhibition showcasing pictures taken on pioneering NASA explorations on view at Daniel Blau

Exhibition of large-scale photographs by Philip-Lorca diCorcia on view at David Zwirner

Magdalena Abakanowicz's installation of 110 burlap sculptures depicting figures in a crowd is on view in Venice

Slip of the Tongue: Danh Vo invited to collaborate in new exhibition at Punta Della Dogana

Contemporary Istanbul announces Silvia Koch as new Director of its 10th edition

Pro-Russians blast destruction of monuments to three Bolshevik heroes in Ukraine

Exhibition of new mixed media work by Joyce Kozloff on view at DC Moore Gallery

Arts venues in Virginia join forces to bring two Chihuly exhibitions at the same time

Michener Art Museum opens exhibition of photographer Kate Breakey

Scottish landscape painting by Joseph Farquharson heads home to the Finzean Estate

Thomas Erben's second solo exhibition with British painter Rose Wylie on view in New York

Queensland Art Gallery appoints Tarragh Cunningham as Assistant Director of Development

V&A opens exhibition about the museum as a public space

Nimrud, the jewel of the Assyrian era

Galerie Barbara Thumm presents a new series of works by Martin Dammann

'Paul Schwer: The Shape of Things to Come' opens at Pi Artworks London

Turkish/Belgian artist pays homage to Robert Indiana with a 'LiKE'

Morgan O'Driscoll Fine Art announces International and Fine Art Auction

Most Popular Last Seven Days

1.- Holocaust 'masterpiece' causes uproar at Venice film festival

2.- To be unveiled at Sotheby's: One of the greatest collections of Orientalist paintings ever assembled

3.- Bender Gallery features paintings by up and coming Chicago artist Michael Hedges

4.- Lévy Gorvy exhibits new and historic works by French master in his centenary year

5.- Artificial Intelligence as good as Mahler? Austrian orchestra performs symphony with twist

6.- Fascinating new exhibition explores enduring artistic bond between Scotland and Italy

7.- Exhibition explores the process of Japanese-style woodblock production

8.- Robert Frank, photographer of America's underbelly, dead at 94

9.- The truth behind the legend of patriot Paul Revere revealed in a new exhibition at New-York Historical Society

10.- Hitler bust found in cellar of French Senate

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
(1941 - 2019)
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful