PEN-Centre: On the destruction of the Shevelyov Memorial Plaque


The Ukrainian Centre of the International PEN Club is demanding an immediate investigation into the destruction on Wednesday of the memorial plaque to renowned Slavist Yury Shevelyov which it believes shows the deep-seated malaise in Ukrainian society.  

It is fair to call this shameful action anti-Ukrainian. Unfortunately it is only in our country that one can see such a pathological phenomenon as open contempt by the ruling elite for the population at whose expense it is living in luxury.  Contempt for its culture and the rights of those citizens who view the past in a different way and have other values.

This action has also highlighted a profound anti-democratic spirit not only from those who directly ordered it, i.e. the Kharkiv regional and city authorities, but also the country’s leaders who provide these authorities with the necessary political cover.  Only a regime which profoundly despises society could ignore the views of intellectuals both in Kharkiv and throughout Ukraine in such a flagrant and cynical manner.

Ultimately all the mumbo-jumbo from Kharkiv Ukraine-haters shows up their deep lack of culture. It invokes long-forgotten demons from the past who destroyed priceless cultural monuments, citing as justification for their vandalism “rulings from the legitimate authorities”.  It is incredible that these demons can so freely spread evil in today’s Ukraine.

Nobody will cure Ukrainian society, but we ourselves.

All the members of the Ukrainian Centre of the International PEN Club demand an immediate investigation into the incident; punishment of those responsible; compensation of damages to those behind the memorial plaque whose property rights were so flagrantly violated by unidentified thieves stealing an artistic artefact while the police did absolutely noting.

We also demand the dismissal from his point of the head of the Kharkiv Regional State Administration Mykhailo Dobkin.  It was under his political patronage that this overt crime was committed. The limits to what is permissible in a civilized country have been exceeded and the time has come for them to answer to the people of Ukraine.

We call on all academic, civic and political institutions to not be silent at this decisive moment and to express their protest to the country’s leaders. This is not even about the honour and good now of a renowned son of Ukraine – Yury Shevelyov. By now it concerns the honour and good name of all Ukraine.

Myroslav Marynovych

President of the  Ukrainian Centre of the International PEN Club

See for details about yesterday’s events

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