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Media: Pushkin sculpture dismantled in Zaporizhzhia

by Nate Ostiller and The Kyiv Independent news desk October 31, 2023 3:58 PM 2 min read
A net covering a statue of Alexander Pushkin in a Kyiv park posted on Oct. 24, 2023. (Solomianski Cats/Telegram)
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A monument to Russian writer Alexander Pushkin was dismantled in Zaporizhzhia as part of Ukraine's ongoing de-Russification process, the Suspilne media outlet wrote on Oct. 31.

Parts of the monument were previously removed starting last year, and the square, eponymously named Pushkin Square, was renamed after Ukrainian scientist Volodymyr Vernadskyi.

The remaining monument was taken down on Oct. 31.

Since Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, Ukraine has continued an ongoing process of “de-Russification” that gained momentum after the EuroMaidan Revolution in 2014. As part of these efforts, monuments to Russian historical figures have been dismantled, and streets named after Russians or Soviet history have been renamed.

President Volodymyr Zelensky signed a law in April 2023 that prohibits naming geographic sites in Ukraine after Russian figures or historical events associated with Russian aggression.

Titled “On Geographical Names,” the law aims to address the “decolonization of toponymy” and to regulate the use of place names in Ukraine, according to the text of the law.

The law prohibits naming geographical sites with titles that “glorify, perpetuate, promote, or symbolize” Russia or its “prominent, memorable, historical and cultural places, cities, dates, events, and figures who carried out military aggression against Ukraine and other sovereign countries.”

It also bans geographic markers associated with “state totalitarian policies and practices related to the persecution of opposition figures, dissidents and other persons” who criticized “totalitarian Soviet and totalitarian Russian regimes.”

Last spring, monuments to Pushkin were dismantled in cities like Ukraine’s southern port city of Mykolaiv, Ukraine’s western city of Ternopil, and in the western Zakarpattia Oblast.

Activists in Kyiv hung a brightly-colored camouflage net over a centrally located statue of Pushkin on Oct. 24, in a protest move hoping to inspire others.

This Week in Ukraine Ep. 19 – Ukraine’s struggle to dump Soviet legacy
Episode #19 of our weekly video podcast “This Week in Ukraine” is dedicated to Ukraine’s national decommunization policy.

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