The Ukrainian government will “encourage any public initiatives connected with cleansing Ukraine from monuments” to officials and others from the communist past, Ukrainian Culture Minister Vyacheslav Kirilenko said in a statement on the website of the ministry.
The minister declared that the numerous monuments “to odious figures of the totalitarian regime are not objects of the cultural heritage of either national or local significance,” are not on the State Registry of monuments, and in the future will not be protected and preserved by the Ukrainian government.
Thus, Kirilenko continued, “the state will not oppose but on the contrary will do everything it can to assist any social initiative which will struggle for the cleansing of Ukraine from these relics of the totalitarian past.”
The so-called ‘Fall of Lenin’ – the Ukrainian movement of toppling statues of the Soviet-era totalitarian leader by strong-willed citizens – began in Kyiv last winter, on December 8th, when Euro-Maidan protesters took down the statue of Lenin near the Bessarabska district. Soon after, over 150 monuments throughout Ukraine were felled by Ukrainians to show that they are eager to part with Soviet symbols and demonstrate their pro-democratic and pro-European outlook.