How necessary is it to destroy statues in Ukraine?

They could have preserved them as a part of their history.

At least they could become tourist attractions.

  • 5
    Which statues? What time period are you talking about?
    – Bregalad
    May 15, 2015 at 7:36
  • 10
    Who is arguing that it is "necessary" in the first place?
    – user4012
    May 15, 2015 at 16:34

4 Answers 4


There's, indeed, a controversy amongst various people regarding the statues belonging to times of Russian occupation.

There are several considerations here:

  1. Those statues are of criminals who obtained top-ranking positions in Russian government and who have proven to have committed numerous crimes against Ukrainian citizens during the whole time of Russian occupation: check
  2. Note, I don't even include here "small" crimes like using chemical weapons by Russian Marshal Tukhachevsky to suppress anti-Communist rebellion in Tambov area, originally populated with Ukrainian nationals, now is territory of Russia. Indeed, who in Russia has ever cared about 240,000 dead?
  3. Both Nazi and Communist propaganda is legally banned in Ukraine. It is against the law to keep those statues, except for historic research or historic show/museums.
  4. These statues do not belong to streets and squares. Just likewise you won't find Goebbels' statues or Hitler streets anymore, except for museums.
  5. Those statues don't need to be destroyed. When some country wants them, they can deliver them to their own territory and worship these with all due respect. Indeed, these criminals served Russia's intents well, so perhaps they can be considered Russian heroes. No one should tell Russians who are their heroes.
    Or, yes, museums that can earn money for their hosts — but again, no state budget should be spent for maintaining them.
  6. (update) Ukraine honors the memory of real heroes of USSR times. For instance, just yesterday the Parliament has named Simferopol International Airport after Amet-Khan Sultan (1920-1971), a Twice-Hero of the Soviet Union.
  7. The vast majority of those who "defend the history" are Russian citizens, including the top-ranking officials of that country. They simply have no vote about what to be done on the soil of Ukraine.
  8. Those who are citizens of Ukraine do have vote, but it's important to understand who they are and what they actually want: they or their parents have been deported from the various areas of the "Soviet Union" to the emptied lands of Ukraine (total losses of native Ukrainians during 1921-1945 are estimated to be 30-40 million). The Communist regime had no reason to deport decent, socialized citizens to the wastelands. Instead, little criminals who had no social relations have been sent to Ukraine (the Eastern Ukraine and Crimea) along with their families. They and their children are most pro-Communist and pro-Russian, simply because they have never been Ukrainians.

P.S. Pro-Russians Kommunists who "worry" about Keeping the History Intact forget what the Communists did in the first order as soon as they took power. Yes, they have eliminated all statues and monuments belonged to previous regimes. The same happened in most occupied European countries as well.

A monument of the Russian Czar Alexander III

A monument of the Russian Czar Alexander III destroyed by the Communists. Moscow, 1920
(image courtesy of)


It is important to understand the scale of ubiquity of the said statues, the scale of destruction, and the artistic value of the destroyed objects.

For example, the "tourist attraction" argument falls apart, because the statues of the communist leaders were in every settlement. Their artistic value is very low, since mass production of the said monuments required low-cost methods and produced non-unique pieces.

The removal of the monuments glorifying divisive historic figures is not specific to Ukraine, and hardly is deplorable at all. The role of the individuals is constantly re-evaluated by the new generations, and removing the statues from the public areas is common-place. Of other glaring examples, I refer you to the recent removal of the statue of Cecil Rhodes in Cape Town. Being a unique piece, though, it has not been destroyed, and has been moved for safe keeping to an undisclosed location.

  • 2
    Re "because the statues of the communist leaders were in every settlement". Well, as soon as the majority of those get removed from the streets and parks, the uniqueness argument may regain its value. Yet several dozen thousand items to go, however. May 17, 2015 at 8:37

Soviet regime killed so many Ukrainians that it is viewed by many the same way as if advocating to leave statues of Hitler in Germany because it is a history (which it is). Artificially created hunger in 1933 killed millions of Ukrainians and is considered in Ukraine an act of genocide. It is not acceptable to have statues of those who architected this crime.

Who does see it as a problem is Russian government, who promote acceptance of totalitarianism in Russia's satellite countries.

It is a history but a tragic one, so statues of Soviet regime belong to museums and not to the main squares of cities.


Statue destruction in Ukraine was a demonstration of power which was (and is) above the law. That is, it was pure vandalism (like this) driven by authorities behind the scenes. As the process is mostly illegal by its nature (another case: unknown persons, with hidden faces, police does not act, "it's not currently good time to restore the destroyed"), the question of necessity is not raised, discussed, argued, defended, explained in society. More to that, even protests to such activity (one more example) are merely ignored. Such destruction is a fact of life and a thing that just happens.

I was a witness of one of such cases of destruction in a local park nearby. There was no public discussion, there was no legal decision for the removal. It was a group of people with no insignia who removed a statue by damaging it (as opposed to civil disassembly), and who did not go away to avoid being caught. Still, police was called afterwards to do necessary paperwork for the offense. And yes, technically it was crime, it was documented exactly as this, event though it was followed by decision to not restore the original composition.

Specifically, everyone around including police officers expressed antipathy to such a barbaric action, which, in particular, shows how far other answers are from the reality discussing "regime" and "decommunization" in general.

Statue destruction, hence, is a part of disgusting anti-social behavior of Ukrainian authorities raising public fear and unrest.

  • 1
    Welcome to Politics.SE. This site is about governments, policies, and political processes. Arguments like "I was a witness", without proper facts and references, do not fit here well. Also, both Nazional-Socialist and Communist occupation regimes are illegal in Ukraine, and so is promoting these regimes. So, if "people with insignia" install a statue of Adolf Hitler, and "people with no insignia" ruin it, this would also qualify "technically it was crime", but in fact, this would be the only way to enforce the law. Sep 3, 2016 at 12:33