Destruction of Shevelyov Plaque: Police See Nothing


The police have stated that they found no infringement of the law in the destruction of the memorial plaque to the renowned Slavist Yury Shevelyov on Sept. 25. A letter received from the head of the Dzherzhynsky Police Station was shown to the media on Wednesday by Kostyantin Cheremsky from the Hnat Khotkevych Fund.

The letter states that a check failed to uncover deliberate damage to the memorial plaque and recommends that they turn to the court.

The act of deliberate destruction which the photo shows, but the police do not recognize, took place around 13.00 on one of the central streets in Kharkiv.

The police letter does state that a decision of the Kharkiv Mayor Gennady Kernes was implemented, that it had been decided at a meeting of the City Council to take down the memorial plaque.

It then goes on to say that their measures were unable to establish who carried out the dismantling of the plaque and possible witnesses of this.

Since the photograph was clearly taken by people near those smashing the plaque, the police letter is offensively dishonest from beginning to end.

As reported, on Sept. 25,  half an hour after the Kharkiv City Council voted to remove the plaque to 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 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. 

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.

New information from a report at

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