VANISHING HISTORY

Animated by a workshop called “Facing Lviv” in October 2018,  directed by the Austrian photographer Kurt Kaindl, I chose a historical topic. I tried to show changes of transformation through a series of photographs of a special monument, the Monument to the War Glory of the Soviet Army (in World War II), which already was fenced by corrugated iron. 

The monument was established in May 1970. The place was chosen on one of the main highways leading to the city from the south, at the corner of Stryiska and then Hvardiyska (now Heroiv Maydanu) streets. During WW1, Russian soldiers were buried there, as well as the Wehrmacht military during WW2. On the other hand, the monument serves as a monumental completion of the main alley of the Bohdan Khmelnytskyi Park of Culture and Recreation. In the Soviet times, there were monuments to Lenin and Stalin on both sides of it.

For a long time there have been a debate in Lviv on dismantling the monument. In particular, the inscription “Glory to the Soviet Army” was replaced by “To the winners over Nazism” in 2007.

The monument is an entire complex and occupies a significant area paved with concrete and granite. In the center of its composition, there are massive bronze figures of a Red Army soldier and the “Motherland.” The high pillar is covered with red granite on the sides and has bronze high reliefs depicting different types of troops. The background for these vertical figures is a horizontal stele made of reinforced concrete and faced with labradorite tiles; it has massive high reliefs on both sides, depicting episodes from the history of the Soviet Army and the annexation of Western Ukraine by the USSR.

As Ukraine continued the de-communization process that parliament ushered in, removing Soviet era monuments and renaming streets with communist connections, Russian media are awash with fake stories accusing Ukraine of fascism and negating the glory of the Great Patriotic War, the Soviet term for World War Two.

It took up only four month after the workshop and in the very beginning of March 2019 the monument was dismantled and removed. It should be rebuilt in the Museum of “Territory of Terror” in Lviv and instead of the old monument a new one, dedicated to the Ukrainian heroes of Anti-Terrorist Operation (ATO) and the war against Russia, should be raised in the near future.

More information and short videos of dismantling the monument can also been found here:
www.youtube.com/watch?v=mVVpQSRAivg
www.youtube.com/watch?v=o2c_fIzCcZY
www.radiosvoboda.org/a/video-demontatsiya-radyanskoho-pamyatnyka-u-lvovi/31374251.html

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