Shevelyov Memorial Plaque smashed to pieces
Photo Ukrainska Pravda
Half an hour after the Kharkiv City Council voted to remove a plaque in memory of the renowned Ukrainian Slavist Yury Shevelyov, three “unidentified individuals” arrived with hammers and axes, and simply smashed the memorial plaque.
Mayor Kernev announced at the council meeting that he had signed the decision from the City Council instructing the relevant Kharkiv department to take down the plaque. He later denied any involvement in the destruction of the plaque which he claimed had nothing to do with him. The Shevelyov Memorial Committee does not believe this and is demanding a full enquiry.
The Kharkiv City Council’s decision on Wednesday revoked a decision from 2011 to mount the plaque on the building at 17 Sumska St.
The plaque was put up at the beginning of September but aroused objections from the local Antifascist Committee which claimed that Shevelyov had collaborated with the Nazis in the 1940s.
As reported, Myroslav Marynovych, President of the PEN-Centre issued a statement expressing outrage over the actions of the Kharkiv local authorities directed against “the renowned Ukrainian Slavist and laureate of the Taras Shevchenko National Award, Yury Shevelyov and gross comments from the Head of the Kharkiv Regional Administration which contain false allegations against the scholar of supposed “aiding the fascists” and overt insults of representatives of the Kharkiv Ukrainian intelligentsia, including the well-known Ukrainian writer Serhiy Zhadan”.
The statement continues: "The primitive ignorance of those in power does not discredit those whom it tries to denigrate, but in the first instance the authorities themselves. The reputation of Yury Shevelyov himself, Professor of Harvard and Columbia University; a foreign member of the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences; President of the Ukrainian Free Academy of Sciences in the USA; member of the American Linguistic Society, Polish Institute of Art and Science in the USA, honorary PhD from the Alberta and Lundsk Universities, the Karazin Kharkiv National University, the National University of Kyiv Mohyla Academy does not need our defence.
The foul slander of Yury Shevelyov is yet another confirmation that figures of such calibre are in permanent and inevitable opposition to the world of dark primitivism. Shevelyov himself would have been appalled if such primitivism accepted him as one of their people. It is therefore not Yury Shevelyov who needs to be defended, but the honourable name of Kharkiv itself that is in need of defence. We know that there are many people there for whom the name of Kharkiv-born Yury Shevelyov is their pride. We also know that for those currently in power it is first and foremost power that is of significance, and not honour and decency. Therefore the thrust of our protest is aimed primarily at those Kharkiv residents who have not become totally indifferently and have not lost their sense of shame. How long will you tolerate a situation where you and oblast are represented by people whose hand in a normal society they would not wish to shake? "