Wednesday, June 21, 2023

Shame on Ukraine: Bust of legendary Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin dismantled

A bust of the legendary Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, the first man to travel into space, was dismantled in Kiev, Ukraine's capital, according to a report by the "Decolonization. Ukraine'' ("Dekolonizatsiya. Ukraina") Telegram channel accompanied with an attached photograph showing only the empty pedestal remaining.

The granite bust had been installed in the late 1960s in the courtyard of the Center of Technical Creativity and Career Counseling for School-Aged Youth in the Darnitsa District of the Ukrainian capital.

To commemorate Gagarin’s visit to Kiev on April 23, 1966, a memorial plaque was placed on April 12, 1972 at the Kievlyanka Knitting Mill, which the celebrated cosmonaut visited because he was formally enrolled in one of the plant’s workshops at the initiative of its staff. 

In addition, Gagarin took part in the 20th Congress of the Ukrainian Komsomol which was held in Kiev.

Ukraine’s campaign against Soviet monuments began in 2015, after the enactment of a law on so-called "decommunization" and was escalated following Russia's military invasion on February 2022. The campaign aims to erase from the people's memory everything that is associated with the Soviet Union's history and culture.

By early 2022, the authorities had demolished over 2,500 monuments and changed the names of more than 900 communities and about 50,000 streets. 

According to Ukraine's Ministry of Culture, in 2022 the authorities proceeded to the removal of 28 monuments dedicated to Alexander Pushkin, 9 memorials to Maxim Gorky, four to commander Alexander Suvorov, and four more to writer Nikolai Ostrovsky.