On May 6, early in the morning the monumental bust of Marshal Georgy Zhukov was destroyed and reinstalled again within several hours in Kharkiv.
The ardent debate on the Marshal’s role in the history of Ukraine is being held in social networks and official media. The points of view of Kharkiv municipal authorities and patriotic community diverge dramatically.
The bust of Zhukov was spontaneously thrown down at about 4 a.m. by some patriotic activists who placed the photos of the empty pedestal on Facebook. However the bust fell on the soft juniper bushes, so it was not broken down. At about 6 a.m. the district administration officials called a truck crane, which was immediately remounted on Petra Hryhorenka avenue.
Formerly the avenue was named after Marshal Zhukov and was renamed in the process of decommunization in 2015 as this controversial figure was closely connected with Soviet past. Also, some historians and famous politicians like Levko Lukyanenko note Zhukov’s dictatorial approach. They claim that Zhukov was one of the pillars of Stalin’s terror and the invading imperial army, and he revealed particular cruelty towards Ukrainians.
Earlier Kharkiv activists demanded to dismantle the monument to Zhukov in Kharkiv. However, it appeared that the bust had been included in the state register of monumental art and it was not a subject to decommunization law.
The non-patriotic Kharkiv political forces use the image of “defenders” of the monument and Zhukov’s legacy for self-promotion. On the contrary, many Kharkiv activists accuse the city mayor of purposeful destruction of local historical buildings and monuments and quite the opposite actions in relation to Zhukov’s bust “spontaneous decommunization.”
Currently, the activists are going to get the bust of Zhukov excluded of the state register of monumental art and to legally remove it from Kharkiv streets.
Text: Olena Sokolinska