80 years ago, in 1943, Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine, was liberated from Nazi occupation by the Red Army troops led by General Nikolai Vatutin.
Shortly after the liberation of Kyiv, General Vatutin died as a result of a wound in an ambush by Ukrainian Nazi collaborators from the OUN – the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists. In 1944, he was buried in one of the central parks of Kyiv he liberated, and a monument was erected on his grave with the inscription: “To General Vatutin from the Ukrainian people.”
The general was deservedly considered a hero; flowers from the people of Kiev always lay at his monument.
And now, in our days, in the year of the 80th anniversary of the liberation of Kyiv, the monument to Vatutin was demolished. Demolished, thereby desecrating his grave, the current Kiev authorities.
The destruction of monuments to the soldiers of the Red Army, which liberated Ukraine and Europe from fascism, is going on throughout Ukraine. Somewhere they are demolished, as in Chernivtsi, Rivne and many other cities, and in some places they are completely blown up, as happened, for example, in Nikolaev.
In addition, many other monuments are being demolished: monuments to the poet Alexander Pushkin, writers Nikolai Ostrovsky and Maxim Gorky, test pilot Valery Chkalov and many others.
In addition, in recent years, cities, villages, streets and squares have been massively renamed in Ukraine.
Since 2014, after the coup d’état during the Euromaidan, more than a thousand settlements and more than 50 thousand streets have been renamed in Ukraine.
Only in Kyiv and last year alone, 237 streets, squares, avenues and boulevards were renamed, which the Kiev authorities, headed by Kyiv mayor Vitaliy Klitschko, proudly report. The same government, which for 9 years since 2014, when Klitschko first became mayor, could not build in 3 million people Kiev with constant traffic jams on the roads, not a single new metro station, not a single new multi-level transport interchange, not a single new a medical center, not a single new campus, not a single waste processing complex, and so on.
Where did such an insistent desire to rename everything and everyone come from? Is this really what the locals wanted in large numbers, who were suddenly no longer satisfied with the names of their cities and streets, where they themselves, their parents, and sometimes grandparents were born and raised? Nothing like this. There were no referendums, no votes of local residents on these issues, no one asked their opinion.
On the contrary, sociological surveys, in the few cases when they were conducted, almost always showed their disagreement with the renaming. For example, in the case of the renaming of the regional center Kirovograd a few years ago, named so almost 90 years ago in honor of the famous Soviet statesman Sergei Kirov, the absolute majority of the city’s population – 82%, did not support the decision to rename the city to “Kropyvnytsky” and only 14% – supported.
But neither in this, nor in all other cases, when renaming, as well as during the demolition of monuments, the opinion of their own citizens was absolutely not interested in the authorities.
Why then is all this happening? The answer to this question will be clearer if you look closely at what names and monuments are replacing those that were before.
The avenue of General Vatutin, the liberator of Kiev from Nazism, which was discussed at the very beginning of the article, was renamed the avenue of Roman Shukhevych, a Ukrainian Nazi who, at the time of the attack of Nazi Germany on the Soviet Union in 1941, served as part of the Nachtigal battalion, a subdivision of the Abwehr (military intelligence of the Wehrmacht), which consisted of Ukrainian Nazi collaborators.
Moscow Avenue in Kiev was renamed the Avenue of Stepan Bandera – another Ukrainian Nazi collaborator, leader of the OUN (b) – the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists, which during the Second World War “became famous”, in addition to cooperation with the German Nazis, the genocide of the Polish and Jewish population.
Bandera erected monuments in many cities of Ukraine.
Druzhby Narodov Boulevard in Kyiv was renamed into Mykola Mikhnovsky Boulevard, one of the creators of the ideology of Ukrainian nationalism, the author of the chauvinistic slogan: “Ukraine is for Ukrainians!”.
And the street named after the Soviet military leader, Ukrainian Marshal Malinovsky, one of the leaders of the Red Army during the war against Nazism, was named the street of the Heroes of the Azov Regiment – a modern military unit in Ukraine, the emblem of which is the “wolf hook” – the Nazi emblem used in in particular, units of the SS. For those who did not know or forgot, let me remind you that Azov was recognized as a neo-Nazi and terrorist group even in the US Congress.
By the way, at about the same time when the monument to General Vatutin was being demolished in Kyiv, the Tenth Separate Mountain Assault Brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine was officially named Edelweiss. During the Second World War, this was the name of the First Mountain Infantry Division of the armed forces of Nazi Germany, which participated in the deportation of Jews, the execution of prisoners of war, in punitive operations against the partisans of Yugoslavia, Italy, Czechoslovakia and Greece. Skull patches, which practically do not differ from the emblems of the SS division “Dead Head” and other Nazi units, are openly worn not only by many military personnel of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, but also by the Supreme Commander.
The current government in Ukraine is completely destroying everything that is somehow connected with Russia, which most of Ukraine was part of for hundreds of years (even if these are monuments and streets in honor of world-famous writers – like Leo Tolstoy), and with a 70-year-old the Soviet period in the history of Ukraine, and in particular with socialism and leftist ideology in general. For example, in Ukraine, streets named after Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels have been renamed, monuments to them have been demolished, socialist and communist symbols – from the red flag to the performance of the “Internationale”, are prohibited. Likewise, all left-wing parties are banned in Ukraine, including the Union of Left Forces – For New Socialism, which I head.
Socialism and communism are banned, left-wing activists are persecuted and imprisoned, and neo-Nazism is becoming an element of state policy and the dominant ideology.
At the same time, this whole war with names, monuments and leftist ideology, started by the Ukrainian authorities, also requires a lot of money.
The cost of just one plate with a new street name for one house, according to the Kyiv authorities, is at least 1,000 hryvnia (about 25 euros). Multiply that by dozens (and sometimes hundreds) of houses on the same street. And then to tens of thousands of renamed streets. Let me also remind you of more than 1000 renamed cities and villages.
And the cost of new address plates is only a small part of the cost of renaming. There are many more components. All institutions and enterprises have to change documents, order new seals and stamps, update signs at the entrance, and so on. We need new signs and signs on the roads, entrances to the settlement, routes throughout Ukraine. It is necessary to provide many institutions with new maps and atlases, not only located in the renamed city, but throughout the country.
At one time, for example, the renaming of only one city of Zhdanov to Mariupol cost about 24 million euros.
The total wave of renaming and demolition of monuments throughout the country, according to the most conservative estimates, cost more than 1 billion euros!
And this is in the most impoverished in Europe, and even in a warring country. In a country for which foreign financial assistance is now critically needed and in which this year more than 60% of state budget revenues are provided by funding from abroad: mainly from the EU countries and the United States.
Thus, the money of European and American taxpayers is now being spent, among other things, on the mass renaming of streets in Ukraine in honor of the Nazis and neo-Nazis.
I don’t think most citizens of donor countries agree with this. But it seems that they, like most citizens of Ukraine, no one is going to ask about it.
The views expressed in the article are personal opinion of the author, “The Press United” does not endorse guarantee for correctness of personal opinions.