Soviet Art Smashed in Ukraine After Controversial New Law Bans Nazi and Communist Symbols

A pro-Ukrainian group claimed responsibility for the vandalism. Photo: Sergey Bobok via AFP

A group of masked men destroyed a series of Soviet statues in the Ukraine’s second-largest city, Kharkiv, AFP reports.

The anti-Russian group “We’ve had enough” claimed responsibility for the attacks in an online video which showed the masked men hooking up cables to the statues and using a white van to topple the monuments. These included a represntation of Russian revolutionary Nikolay Rudnev by the Soviet sculptor Viktor Volovik.

The footage also shows police officers standing idly by as the attackers carry out the destruction.

The destruction occurred only two days after the Ukrainian parliament passed a controversial new law banning Nazi and Communist symbols.

The Ukrainian sociologist Andriy Bychenko told AFP: “Feeling towards the symbols of the Soviet Union have become sharply more negative since the beginning of the Russian Agression.”

Volovik’s daughter Nina Soboleva called for the Ukrainian government to place communist-era monuments in storage. “It was a work of art” she said, referring to her father’s statue.

Kharkiv’s pro-Russian mayor Gennady Kernes described the attack as “vandalism” and the Opposition Bloc party criticized Kiev for “dismantling everything, from history, to tradition, national holidays and memory.”

The sentiment was echoed by Moscow: a statement by the Russian foreign ministry accused the Ukrainian government of “rewriting history,” and claims that the new law would “create divisions” and encourage a “nationalist ideology.”

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