Human Rights in Ukraine. Website of the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group
Social and economic rights

“After “Bommer”, you’ll be selling libraries and universities”


This was one of the banners which Kharkiv residents used in their protest action against the decision taken by the Kharkiv Regional Council to put the cinema “Bommer” up for sale.

This is the last “historic” cinema in Kharkiv, almost a century old, which showed non-box office films, for which it was valued by its audience. It is in the historical centre of Kharkiv and is indeed an attractive site for “blue and white” businesspeople.

Over recent years Kharkiv has almost lost its reputation as a cultural city with libraries in penury, cinemas being turned into shopping centres and the number of gambling outlets will soon be on a par with the number of city residents. The pearl of Kharkiv – the Shevchenko Park has almost been transformed into a huge snack bar with the smell of vodka and kebabs.

This is the sad list of cinemas already relegated to history: “Kharkiv”, “Moskva”, “Batkivshchyna”,  “Salyut”, “Druzhba”, “Zirka” and “1st Komsomolsky”.

The Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group has sent a letter to the Head of the Kharkiv Regional Council Vasyl Salygin asking that Kharkiv not be deprived of “Bommer”.


To the Head of the Kharkiv Regional Council

Vasyl Salygin


Dear Vasyl Viktorovych,

Our organization is shocked to learn that according to a decision of the Regional Council, the Kharkiv cinema “Bommer”, one of the most beautiful cultural centres of the city, is to be pulled down

The Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group has often held human rights-related events in the building.

As it is, we have very few remaining cultural centres where one can show documentary films and appreciate serious professional cinema.

Knocking down is quite different from building! Unfortunately over recent years Kharkiv has been losing its identity as a cultural centre. This in our view is connected not only with the lack of funding, but first and foremost with an irresponsible attitude to the existence and development of cultural sites by the city and regional authorities.

We would ask you to reconsider this decision and leave the cinema as a cultural centre for Kharkiv residents.

Y.Y. Zakharov, Co-Chair of the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group

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