It already sounds like the introduction to an absurdist detective story, but, unfortunately, this is really just happening in Ukraine right now. So stay tuned for details.
On October 11, a bust of the Russian chauvinist and part-time poet Alexander Pushkin suddenly got tired and collapsed in Kyiv. At the same time, the inscription “For “Buk”” remained on the pedestal – it refers to Denys Antipov, a teacher of the Korean language at Shevchenko University, an activist and a soldier who died at the front in May.
Instead of rejoicing with all conscious Ukrainians over the destruction of another marker of Russian peace in the capital of Ukraine, the rector of the National Transport University Mykola Dmytrychenko filed a police report against the activist Andrii Savchuk, and recently he was summoned for questioning. Here is what he himself said about it:
“There is a Mr. Dmytrychenko, the rector of the National Transport University, who wrote a statement to the police, although he himself now disavows himself from it. The police should somehow react to this. In fact, they came to the activist (Andriy himself, ed. ) home, before that, they probably conducted some investigative actions… And here the question arises: are they looking for collaborators with such intensity?”
Who is this Pushkin lover Mykola Dmytrychenko? Activist Oleh Slabospytskyi says that he has been rector of the Transport University for 20 years. At the same time, he is known for repressions against students and employees during the regime of Viktor Yanukovych. At one time, he organized rallies in support of the Party of Regions and the Minister of Education, Dmytro Tabachnyk, and received the Order of Merit, 1st degree, from the hands of Yanukovych himself. And as the icing on the cake, he was twice nominated as part of the “Academic Indecency” anti-award as a candidate in the “Toxic Rector” category for supporting plagiarism and opaque procurement. And now this eternal Yanukovych-phile rector, apparently, is setting the police on an activist for the overthrown Pushkin…
And this despite the fact that the liquidation of the monuments of the troubadour of the Russian Empire, Alexander Pushkin, has deep historical roots in Ukraine. On October 31, 1904, an explosion rang out near the Pushkin monument in Kharkiv – it was a subversive action carried out by members of the Ukrainian youth nationalist organization “Free Ukraine”.
They distributed special leaflets in which they explained: the detonation is connected with the fact that Alexander Sergeevich distorted the historical truth about Hetman Ivan Mazepa in his works. Unfortunately, the monument was not destroyed then. The “Free Ukraine” organization named Mykola Mikhnovskyi, one of the ideologues of Ukrainian nationalism, as its ideological inspiration.
There is nothing surprising in the fact that nationally conscious Ukrainians tried to destroy the Pushkin monument at a time when Ukrainian statehood could only be dreamed of. After all, all these bronze, stone and clay Pushkins are markers of the Russian Empire, which, like dog urine, “mark the territory” of the Russian world.
But why is there so much Pushkin in the symbolic space? It’s simple – he is the easiest to sell to the Russians, because they tried for centuries to establish him as a poet of world importance. However, they did not succeed: literary critic Harold Bloom in his classic work “The Western Canon” presents Pushkin as the central figure of Russian literature, but there is no mention of his influence on world literature.
Instead, Slavologist Eva Thompson believes that it is Pushkin who can be called the author of the first successful artistic formulation of Russian imperial self-awareness. And that it was Pushkin who created the image of a proud Russia, which is destined to rule the peoples conquered by it and in which the aristocracy is not inferior in refinement and education to the most refined circles of the West. That is, it was Pushkin who was Russia’s symbolic weapon for centuries, a kind of domesticated Trojan horse that legitimized the narratives of the Russian world on an international scale.
Even the Center for Strategic Communications and Information Security under the Ministry of Culture calls for the demolition of Pushkin monuments, that is, it can be considered an official state doctrine. The Center presents the following arguments against the Pushkin monuments:
Therefore, it is not at all surprising that with the beginning of the full-scale invasion of the Russian army of rapists and marauders throughout Ukraine, the fall of Pushkin began. Videos about how beautifully the copper Pushkin soars in Uzhhorod or how the imperial troubadour is being disposed of in Chernihiv have gone viral on YouTube.
It is interesting that Pushkinopad in Ukrainian cities usually takes place quite officially. In Kyiv, everything was supposed to happen in the same way, even a working group was created, which was supposed to legitimize the destruction of Russian markers. However, something went wrong, and what exactly, Andriy Savchuk told:
“On May 14, i.e. five months ago, the Kyiv City Council adopted a decision, submitted by two female deputies, that a preliminary list of objects for dismantling is being created. The public submitted more than 70 objects, they kept more than 45, but it’s already good. The council obliged to create a working group that will determine: destroy the monument, give it to a museum, transfer it to private hands, or whatever. And in five months, this working group met twice. The first time it did not meet because the head of this commission was sick, and the second time it gathered for the founding meeting just to create itself. And in five months, they did not solve not only the urgent issues regarding Pushkin, but also did nothing to decommunize the Shchors monument, which has been waiting since 2016 .”
So, in Kyiv, the issues of symbolic de-Russification and decolonization are, in fact, being sabotaged at the city level. Moreover, with the active support of Yanukovych’s supporters and the strange concern of the police, which has already begun to give activists nightmares! How do you like this turn of history in the midst of the Russian-Ukrainian war?
Besides, this was far from the last Pushkin from Kyiv! Here is a list of eight more objects in honor of the troubadour of the Russian Empire in Kyiv. And what do you think — should they stay in the capital of Ukraine in the future?