Today, the memorial plaque to Major General Petro Hryhorenko was unveiled on the hostel building of National Technical University “Kharkiv Polytechnic Institute,” where he was living in 1929-1931 during his studying at Kharkiv Technological Institute which was the University’s previous name.
Petro Hryhorenko was famous for defending Crimean Tatars deported to Central Asia, founding the Ukrainian Helsinki Group and for publicly denouncing “the totalitarianism that hides behind the mask of so-called Soviet democracy,” according to Joseph Alsop.
The event on October 16, 2017, was dedicated to commemorate the 110th anniversary of the birth of Petro Hryhorenko.
His younger son Andriy has arrived in Kharkiv from the USA to take part in the ceremony and the discussions about his father.
“I have been waiting for this event for more than ten years. I am happy my father’s name is commemorated,” said Andriy Hryhorenko.
According to the head of Kharkiv Human Rights Group Yevhen Zakharov, the idea of unveiling a memorial plaque to Petro Hryhorenko on one of the University’s buildings arose about ten years ago when the 100th anniversary of Hryhorenko’s birth was celebrated. However, the University authorities were against it then.
Yevgen Zakharov pointed out that Petro Hryhorenko was one of the most prominent Ukrainians in the world in the 1970s as he met with many foreign politicians, including the US President.
The plaque is a split design, which symbolizes the life of the Army Commander and human rights advocate before and after his immigration to the USA.
In May 2016, one of the Kharkiv avenues, a former Marshal Zhukov Avenue, was renamed after Hryhorenko within the decommunization process.
Text: Olena Sokolynska
Photo: Olena Goroshko