Along with the melting snow chunks of asphalt came off worn-down roads as well as tiles moved from pavements. For the same reason, the artificial stone at the foot of the monument to Cesar of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Franz Joseph I began to slide.
Two elderly men decided to put it back on their own. It turned out that those two men do not work for the housing department and are not the colleagues of the Lviv authors of the sculpture. Two pensioners took patronage over the monument on their own initiative. They live on the outskirts of the city, but especially for the renovation of the bronze sculpture that stands in one of the city parks they come to the center of Chernivtsi. “My cousin Vasyl Hryhorash, also a pensioner, and I take care of the monument,” said the initiator of the project 70-year-old Vasyl Shestozub. “We have been doing this since the monument was installed. All my life I worked as a truck driver but as an indigenous Chernivtsi resident I was always interested in the history of the city. I know that the city got its unique European look and developed economically and culturally during the times of Franz Joseph. Back then railway station, tramways, and power plant appeared in Chernivtsi.
There also were opened the university and four Ukrainian schools, from one of which I graduated myself (the school is not far from the park with the monument). Even though the city community had ambiguous attitude to the fact of opening the monument to Cesar, I think that there would be no city of Chernivtsi without him. That is why we take care of this monument. Two years ago, when vandals poured paint over the sculpture we spend several days cleaning it. Now we came here with tools to put the stone back to make it look nice again.” “We will continue to come visit Franz Joseph until health permits,” continued Vasyl Shestozub, who does not view his actions like something special. He thinks that everyone should take care of their hometown the way they can in actions and not in words.