The memorial plaque to Kharytia Kononenko, the Red Cross activist and Ukrainian Insurgent Army’s (UPA) supporter, was unveiled on the initiative of the Prosvita Society’s Rivne branch. The branch leader Kateryna Sychyk’s speech at the event described how Kononenko, born in Poltava region to civic activist Oleksandr Vilinsky, was active in student movement and Ukrainian scouting, being one of the co-founders of the Ukrainian Women’s Association of Canada. Having obtained a doctorate from Vienna University, she moved to Rivne in the 1940s to become a leader of the Ukrainian Red Cross in Volyn, based in Rivne, and work to revive the Prosvita there. Kononenko maintained contacts with the UPA rebels, supplied them with medicines and sent medical personnel to them.
Otaman Taras Bulba-Borovets had a lot of kind words for her in his memoirs An Army without a State. The German occupying forces imprisoned Kononenko in July 1943 for her active support for the UPA and had her shot, among other inmates, mostly Ukrainian intelligentsia, in October 1943, as a reprisal for the Soviet spy Nikolai Kuznetsov’s actions. However, the memorial plaque was unveiled not on the former Rivne prison’s wall, but on another building in the city’s center. The former prison’s building is now housing not just various state agencies, but also a cafe and a billiard club, outraging many residents. On October 15, concerned citizens held a picket at the place, which had served both the Nazis and the Soviet secret police, on the initiative of the Prosvita’s Rivne branch. The picketers demanded removal of the billiard club and cafe from the building that saw thousands of innocent people tortured to death in the 1940s and 1950s.