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Ukrainian experts open war on history branding Catherine II ‘Russian world’ propagandist

December 08, 2017, 6:35 UTC+3 KIEV

The historians urged the local self-government agencies "to refrain from glorification of the personalities who helped the imperial enslavement of Ukraine in different historical epochs"

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KIEV, December 8. /TASS/. Ukrainian historians have categorized the famous 18th century Russian military commander Alexander Suvorov and Empress Catherine II as promulgators of ideas of the ‘Russian world’, saying this might facilitate ‘the mobilization of electorates in separate regions of the country’.

An assemblage of scholars at a roundtable conference titled ‘Monumental Legacy of the Russian Empire: Are Peter I, Catherine II, [Generalissimo] Suvorov and [Field Marshal] Kutuzov Heroes of Ukrainian History?’ included staff members of the Institute of Ukrainian History, the Ukrainian Institute of National Memory, the Ukrainian Society for Preserving Historical Sites and Culture, and Odessa National University.

The Institute of National Memory published its results at its homepage on Thursday.

"Participants in the roundtable discussed a range of problems related to the imperial discourse and monumental legacy of the Russian Empire in Ukraine and their instrumental use by pro-Russian political forces in the propaganda of ideas of the so-called ‘Russian world’ and mobilization of the relevant sections of electorate in certain regions of Ukraine," the report said.

Upon the results of discussion, the experts decided to ask the Ukrainian Defense Ministry to dismantle the monument to Suvorov on the territory of the Ivan Bogun military college in Kiev and made a recommendation to the Odessa city hall to comply with previous court rulings, which declared the presence of the monument Empress Catherine II [Catherine the Great] in Odessa to lack solid reasons.

Besides, the experts found it necessary to change the concept of and display at the Field of Poltava Battle state museum of history and culture in the city of Poltava.

The historians asked the local self-government agencies "to refrain from glorification and immortalization of the personalities who helped the imperial enslavement of Ukraine in different historical epochs."

In the meantime, people in Odessa believe the monument to Catherine the Great is an expression of gratitude to the Empress and other founders of the beautiful city. It was she who signed a rescript on founding the city in 1794. The thankful Odessans put up a monument to her in 1900.

It consisted of the Empress’s figure full length, placed below which were the monuments to four historical personalities who launched construction of the port in Odessa.

After the imposition of Soviet government in the city, the monument was dismantled and moved to a museum. Calls for smelting it into gun shells were made but someone managed to convince the authorities to keep it intact.

The site of the monument did not remain empty, however, as the Bolshevik government installed a monument to Karl Marx instead of Catherine the Great there soon.

The Empress reemerged in 2007. Catherine’s image remained unchanged and the bulk of other elements of the monument were original, too.

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