The End of Commie Monuments in Kharkiv (continued) by SERGIY BOBOK
Nina Soboleva, daughter of sculptor Viktor Volovik, lamented the destruction of his statue of Russian revolutionary Nikolay Rudnev.
"It was a work of art," she sighed, urging the government to appoint a commission tasked with deciding the fate of Soviet-era monuments, which should be stored in safety in the meantime.
A video posted on YouTube by anti-Russian group "We've had enough" shows the three raids. In one instance, police can be seen looking on without intervening.
Their faces covered, the men use a ladder to hook the statues with a cable tied to a white van then which pulls away, bringing them down.
An industrial hub of 1.4 million people, Kharkiv lies about 200 kilometres (125 miles) from the fighting in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions, where pro-Russian insurgents are fighting the Kiev government in a conflict that has killed more than 6,000 people.
Kharkiv's pro-Russian mayor Gennady Kernes described the raids as "vandalism" and demanded that police "explain why they allow the illegal demolition of monuments."
Communist ban controversy The attack follows a ban this week on Nazi and Communist-era symbols and names that is designed to shed Ukraine's Soviet past.
The Opposition Bloc party blamed the legislation for the destruction of the Kharkiv statues, and said the government was bent on "dismantling everything, from history, to tradition, national holidays and memory."
Supporters of the ban, which was rushed through parliament Thursday and must be signed by President Petro Poroshenko before it comes into force, say it will help Ukraine break with its tragic past and with Moscow's domination through most of the 20th century.
But Moscow says Ukraine is "rewriting history", and a Russian foreign ministry statement Friday said "Kiev used truly totalitarian methods of liquidating unwanted parties, civic organisations and movements."
The law will "create divisions" and promote a "nationalist ideology", Russia said.
The legislation means that Soviet-era Lenin statues will have to be removed and streets and town squares renamed across the country of some 45 million.
And as Kiev and Moscow traded angry barbs in an escalating war of words over their shared history, Poroshenko likened Russia's support of separatist insurgents to Nazi Germany's actions in Europe in the 1930s.
"What is the difference between the Anschluss (annexation) of Austria or the occupation of Sudentenland (in ex-Czechoslovakia), and the annexation of Crimea or the attempts to tear away Donbass in 2014?" said Poroshenko.
The Donbass is a swathe of eastern Ukraine captured by separatist rebels who the West says are operating with Russia's support -- allegations denied by Moscow.
Kiev sociologist Andriy Bychenko said the parliament's anti-Soviet drive was in tune with widespread belief that Russia is fuelling the bloody rebellion in the east.
"Feelings towards the symbols of the Soviet Union have become sharply more negative since the beginning of the Russian aggression," he told AFP.
But Poroshenko's harsh tirade ahead of the 70th anniversary of the WWII victory over the Nazis is likely to deeply offend Moscow, which is planning massive May 9 celebrations.
Historian David Marples at Canada's Alberta University was critical.
"In the West, friends of Ukraine will have a difficult time accepting both the wisdom and timing of such a facile and asinine decree," he said.
"The all-encompassing rejection of any facets of the Soviet legacy is troublesome," Marples wrote.
"The Red Army after all removed the Nazi occupation regime from Ukraine in alliance with the Western Powers."
You can watch the amateur footage of the night raids at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y4Q7a_IXX40
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED http://artdaily.com/index.asp?int_sec=11&int_new=77830#.VSuAnc672Rs
And who are the Commie apparatchiks whose statues were toppled?
Toppling Soviet monuments in Ukraine goes beyond Lenin BY CHAD NAGLE
The removal of monuments to Soviet Communism in Ukraine has now gone past tearing down statues of Soviet founder Vladimir Lenin. As reported by hromadske.tv, on April 11th in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, three statues of other Bolsheviks were toppled at night by unidentified masked figures claiming to be enforcing a law passed on April 9th. The law bans all propaganda and symbolism of both Nazism and Soviet Communism. Law No. 2558 ‘On the condemnation of Communist and National Socialist (Nazi) totalitarian regimes in Ukraine and the prohibition of propaganda using their symbolism’ followed close on the heels of another law officially renaming the ‘Great Patriotic War,’ so that in Ukraine it is now referred to as ‘World War Two.’
Under current circumstances, this renaming was a natural political development: to refer to a war as ‘patriotic’ when it is referred to as such by an aggressor state (Russia) seems absurd.
Furthermore, the Soviet Union was not an entity whose official ideology valued ‘patriotism.’ It was the antithesis of patriotic sentiment, since it believed all nation-states were worthless, and only international proletarian revolution had ultimate value. The proletariat – according to Marxism-Leninism – did not identify with nation or country, but only with a workers’ revolution and overturning the old order.
The title ‘Great Patriotic War’ was a ruse conceived by Stalin’s regime to win sympathy for the war effort in desperate times. It was a trick to appeal to the Soviet masses to fight Nazi Germany, with which Stalin had heinously and foolishly attempted to form an alliance.
The destruction of Soviet Communist hagiography is not popular with many in Ukraine, particularly in the east. While western Ukrainian cities long ago removed images of Lenin and other Communist leaders from their public areas, in the largely Russian-speaking east, most residents have viewed such figures – until recently – with a shrug at worst, and at best as heroes.
The reality is that most of these people were monsters. Lenin, Dzerzhinsky, Stalin and others still viewed with respect in Russia were responsible for the torture, starvation and deaths of millions of ordinary people.
Whatever anyone may feel about Communism as in some way a ‘good cause,’ those responsible for creating and consolidating the Soviet state that existed from 1917 to 1991 were mostly murderous and tyrannical. There is a point at which ordinary people’s misconceptions as to the integrity of figures from their own history must be dispelled – for the good of all.
The Bolshevik figures whose statues were torn down in Kharkiv are Nikolai Rudnev, Yakov Sverdlov and Sergo Ordzhonikidze. The masked figures who toppled them posted a video of their acts to youtube. It is evident from the footage that no officials from the Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD – the national police force) attempted to obstruct or stop them.
Nikolai Rudnev (1894-1918) was made deputy commissar for military affairs of the Donetsk-Krivoy Rog Soviet Republic, an artificial entity set up by the Bolshevik government in Moscow to carve territory away from Ukraine during the Russian Civil War and carry out mass slaughter in the Ukrainian countryside. A true believer in the Bolshevik cause, Rudnev was mortally wounded just shy of his twenty-fourth birthday, and was buried in the Russian city of Tsaritsyn (later renamed Stalingrad, then Volgograd) in October 1918. His body was later disinterred and re-buried in the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, where a city square was named after him. Yakov Sverdlov on a Soviet postage stamp
Yakov Sverdlov (1885-1919) was a Soviet Politburo member and chairman of the Central Executive Committee of the Congress of Soviets of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (RSFSR) for over a year after the Bolsheviks seized power in Russia in 1917. A close ally of Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin, Sverdlov played a critical role in organizing the Bolshevik Revolution. He helped close down the Constituent Assembly (the elected Russian legislative body that briefly existed into the Bolshevik era), and carried out Lenin’s order to execute Tsar Nicholas II and his family. The city where the executions took place (Yekaterinburg) was named ‘Sverdlovsk’ until the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Grigol (‘Sergo’) Ordzhonikidze (1886-1937), a Georgian, was a close confidante and ally of the dictator Joseph Stalin. In 1920, he directed ‘de-Cossackization’ as head of the North Caucasus Revolutionary Committee, deporting inhabitants that had rebelled against Bolshevik rule and burning entire villages to the ground. He became a full Soviet Politburo member and was at one point People’s Commissar of Heavy Industry. He later criticized collectivization (which led to the famine in Ukraine and other areas of the Soviet Union) as a ‘disaster’ and also opposed the purge of fellow Communists in the 1930s. Although the official report of Ordzhonikidze’s death specified that he had died of a heart attack, it is now generally believed he committed suicide by blowing his brains out at Stalin’s behest. He was buried in the Kremlin Wall in Moscow.
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED http://newhetmanate.net/2015/04/11/toppling-of-soviet-monuments-in-ukraine-goes-beyond-lenin-statues/