A monument of two workers commemorating the “friendship” between Russians and Ukrainians in central Kyiv has been dismantled in the wake of the war. The bronze sculpture, which shows the workers holding a Soviet order of friendship, stands beneath a giant titanium People’s Friendship Arch erected in 1982 to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Soviet Union.
The mayor of Kyiv, Vitaly Klitschko, announced earlier this week that the installation would be removed, a loaded decision reflecting the chasm between the two countries. "We now see what this ‘friendship’ is—destruction of Ukrainian cities... killing tens of thousands of peaceful people. I am convinced such a monument has an entirely different meaning now," he told Reuters. The news agency reported that one of the heads fell off first; a crane then lifted the monument off its moorings and lowered it to the ground in front of a crowd chanting “Glory to Ukraine”.
The Friendship Arch was designed by the sculptor A. Skoblikov and the architect I. Ivanov, according to the Architectuul website. In 2014, after Russia invaded Crimea, activists painted a large crack along the top. Klitschko said the arch would remain in place but be renamed the Arch of Freedom of the Ukrainian People. The arch will also reportedly be highlighted with the colours of the Ukrainian flag.
Kyiv city council has meanwhile announced plans to change street names linked to Russia and Belarus. “The Kyiv city council has identified 279 names that could be renamed, Volodymyr Bondarenko, the secretary of the council, told Ukrainska Pravda, an online newspaper, on April 25,” tweeted the Kyiv Independent newspaper.