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Court delays Ukraine hearing on demand for Russian imperial statue's removal

May 15, 2014, 17:10 UTC+3 ODESSA
The hearing focusses on a disputed sculpture first erected in 1900, toppled after the October Revolution in 1917 and reconstructed in Odessa's Yekaterinskaya Square, named after the empress, in 2007
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Monument to Russian Empress Catherine the Great in Odessa (center)

Monument to Russian Empress Catherine the Great in Odessa (center)

© ITAR-TASS/Roman Kruchinin

ODESSA, May 15. /ITAR-TASS/. A court in Odessa has adjourned a hearing into demands for the removal of a contentious monument to Russian Empress Catherine the Great, founder of the Black Sea port city, from a Ukrainian public square.

The hearing focusses on a disputed sculpture first erected in 1900, toppled after the Bolshevik October Revolution in 1917 and reconstructed in Odessa's Yekaterinskaya Square, named after the empress, in 2007. It has since been the flashpoint of street clashes involving far-right and nationalist organisations.

Odessa's court of appeal has put back the hearing, scheduled for Thursday, citing the judge's illness, and halting proceedings.

They centre on an Odessa resident's 2009 district court petition when Nadezhda Sodol claimed the edifice was "a place for pro-Russian activists to hold their religious processions, which is a humiliation for the Ukrainian people even after the death of an empress who snubbed Ukrainians during her lifetime."

The district court rejected her claim but she pushed ahead with the demand, taking the case to the appeal court.

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