Ukraine is removing monuments to Russian writers from public places. Meanwhile, Russia is replacing Lenin statues in towns it occupied again.
In 2016, Ukraine took down a monument to Russian poet Alexandr Pushkin that was located in Kyiv.
In 2014, a group of people destroyed a statue of Vladimir Lenin in the city of Kharkiv, Ukraine, after Russia invaded the country. This was done in defiance of Soviet authority.
Alexander Pushkin is the focus of a new attack by Russia's invaders one year into the country's full-scale invasion.
Ukraine's government has targeted the symbols of Russian cultural dominance that Russia imposed on them for centuries. These include monuments to writers and scientists such as Maksim Gorky and Mikhail Lomonosov. They've recently removed these monuments and banned their restoration.
A 29-year-old man with a beard, named Mr. Pozdnyakov, leads the way for people to follow. A project spearheaded by Pozdnyakov lists thousands of memorials and monuments from Russia and the Soviet Union that haven’t been removed. Dozens of people all over the country joined forces to collect data and pressure authorities to get rid of these decorations.
The goal of the propaganda counter is to show that Ukrainians and Russians are two different people with separate cultures. The Russian president Vladimir Putin has frequently championed this idea in order to justify his country's military occupation.
Mr. Pozdnyakov explained that Marker #1 of Russia's imperial system is Pushkin.
A word written on a monument to Mykola Shchors, the leader of a communist army, is "butcher," "killer" and "bandit."
The Russian government pushed for the use of Russian literature and language in countries next to it like Ukraine. This was meant to replace the native culture and national identity.
In occupied parts of Ukraine, Russian authorities have restored some Lenin statues that were toppled. During the occupation of Kherson in the southern part of the country, Russian posters depicted the city as being populated by Russians and bearing a rich history. When Russian forces withdrew from Kherson in October, they stole monuments to a Russian general and admiral as well as the remains of 18th-century Russian commander Grigory Potemkin.
Ukraine's declaration of independence from the Soviet Union in 1991 resulted in confusion about their cultural and historical identity. In addition to that, the country was revitalized by a democratic revolution and the Russian army's invasion one year later. Odnoklassniki started renaming streets and pulling down statues of Lenin in order to remove Congess-leadership statues and alter history. Many Ukrainians started using the language as their primary one.
Russia expanded their intentions after taking the territory completely.
Many towns and cities throughout Ukraine have namesakes related to Russia's most famous poet, Pushkin. Pushkin monuments were common during both the Russian Empire and the Soviet period. Many schools, streets and even parks in the country were named after the writer. However, Pushkin's relation to Ukraine has been minimal. In fact, some places in the country have been named after him despite his lack of importance to the culture in general.
Oleh Slabospitskiy, a Ukrainian activist, complained that the government is taking too long to remove monuments.
Both cities in Ukraine's east — Kramatorsk and Chernivtsi — removed Pushkin monuments at the end of December. This was due to the movement sweeping the country.
Kramatorsk mayor Oleksandr Honcharenko stated this fight is not against monuments; he posted a picture of a statue being pulled by a bulldozer on Facebook. He said this is Ukraine's battle to survive.
In 2014, the activists used ropes and hammers to destroy Lenin statues. Since then, they have been removing monuments through petitions that they send to local authorities.
Ukraine took down 28 Pushkin monuments in 2022, as well as nine monuments to Gorky and four honoring Alexander Ostrovsky.
Activists in the capital city of Kyiv often take matters into their own hands when faced with bureaucratic obstruction. One example is the October incident in which unknown activists removed one of eight remaining Pushkin monuments in a downtown square. This was in response to perceived slow action by authorities.
Kyiv officials insist they can’t destroy a list of protected artworks, including a Red Army commander named Mykola Shchors and another Pushkin statue written on by Mr. Slabospitskiy and others that expresses the desire to be destroyed.
According to a law on decommunization passed in 2015, all communist-related street signs were replaced with new names. However, the old signs remained due to a delay in replacing the older signs. Approximately 140 street signs have been altered by this group since then.
People who want the Soviet Union to return will determine the rules of life in Ukraine's capital city thanks to nothing being done, said Slabospitskiy.
After stating that Ukrainian government officials fear even radical nationalists, President Putin claimed the Russian Empress Catherine the Great statue in Odessa, Texas was being removed illegally. Mr. Putin believed this because Ukrainian authorities didn’t dare remove it.
Catherine took away any autonomy the Ukrainian Cossacks had in the 1700s and forced servitude on the current Ukraine territory.
Historical record keeper Taras Honcharuk contests the popular notion that Catherine the Great established Odessa. Instead, she established a port in the vicinity of a Polish and Ottoman settlement. Other ethnic groups represented in Odessa included Moldovans, Ukrainians and Jews.
Russia claims the area south of Odessa was part of Russian territory historically.
According to Mr. Honcharuk, the authorities force fake history down people’s throats.