Kharkiv public was shocked to learn in mid-October that Derhachi Raion Council was preparing the demolition order for the Holodomor victims’ memorial complex near the village of Cherkaska Lozova, Kharkiv oblast. Following recent scandalous destruction of the memorial plaque to George Shevelov and theft of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army memorial stone, both actions going unpunished, concerned citizens met with indignation the prospect of another possible cruel “gift” by the authorities on the occasion of the Holodomor’s anniversary.
Head of the Nationalist Youth Congress (NYC) Serhii Kuzan confirmed the news of the council’s intention to remove the national mourning symbol that was erected solemnly in 2008. “We have obtained information that members of Derhachi Raion Council are preparing paperwork to dismantle the whole Holodomor memorial complex, including a statue, a museum, and boards carrying photographs and documents. They indicate two main reasons for their action. Firstly, they note that the complex is too expensive for the district to maintain during the current economic crisis. Secondly, they state that the monument brings ‘discord’ and worsens social tensions because ‘there is no common view of the Holodomor.’ This is a prime example of brazen cynicism!” the NYC’s head vented his outrage.
When the news spread, the council posted an official rebuttal on its website. They repeated it to answer Maidan Monitoring news agency’s request for comments on their alleged initiative to dismantle the Holodomor victims’ memorial. The document noted, in particular, that “the monument is a site of national importance, and the council does not administer it,” adding that the councilors never addressed Kharkiv Oblast Council on this matter. “The official response is intended to reassure the public, but it does not mean that the threat has vanished completely,” Dmytro Pylypets, a civic activist, maintained. “Therefore, we have to keep watch and be ready to protect the monument.”