The Great Famine-Genocide in Soviet Ukraine (Holodomor)


By Vadym Ryzhkov, The Day
The Day WEEKLY DIGEST of Ukrainian News in English
Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, December 9, 2003


Construction of the monument commemorating the victims of the Holodomor Manmade Famine- Genocide and political reprisals will soon begin in the southern outskirts of Dnipropetrovsk. The first official monument of its kind in Dnipropetrovsk oblast, it will be built on the ninth kilometer of the Dnipropetrovsk-Zaporizhzhia highway - on the site where mass burials of people killed on orders from Stalin were discovered in the 1970s during earthworks.

The design of the monument has been endorsed by an expert jury comprising museum workers, noted sculptors and architects, along with representatives of the public at large. In the course of a contest that lasted half a year they reviewed a series of projects, of which only two seemed especially relevant.

Many jurors supported an original project designed by a group headed by a young Dnipropetrovsk-based architect Serhiy Poliushkin. He proposed creating a memorial complex around a barrow common in the Ukrainian steppe. As shown in the model, its summit is torn apart to resemble the sight of a rifle, through which one sees a sculptural composition - a child crying over his dead mother. The author proposed sowing the kurgans with wheat - the eternal living reminder of the years of the Great Manmade Famine in Ukraine.

However, most jurors voted in favor of a traditional project designed by a group of Dniprodzerzhynsk architects headed by Harnyk Khachatrian. His sculptural composition will be dominated by a stylized cross with a crucified figure symbolizing the Ukrainian people. According to the author's concept, the monument commemorating the victims of the Holodomor and political reprisals to be built near a busy motorway should be seen from afar by all those heading for Dnipropetrovsk.

"This monument should not only remind all the living and especially the young about the sufferings of the generation of those times, but denounce the totalitarian regime," Chief Architect of Dnipropetrovsk oblast Ihor Sokolov said addressing the jury.

It is worth noting that the director of the group of architects that designed the monument to the victims of the Holodomor and political reprisals, Harnyk Khachatrian, is a native of Armenia, whose people also repeatedly faced mass terror and genocide. The sculptor considers Ukraine his second homeland, where he has lived many years and created a series of monuments that have immortalized in stone and bronze memorable names and events.

In the past few years Dniprodzerzhynsk saw the unveiling of monuments to the mother, to the victims of a streetcar accident that happened there in the summer of 1996, along with a monument to Taras Shevchenko, with the presidents of Ukraine and Kazakhstan present for its unveiling.

Khachatrian considers his victory in the recent contest a major creative success and the construction of the memorial a very responsible matter.

"Memory of the Holodomor victims means a lot to Ukrainians, and such a monument should have been built in Dnipropetrovsk oblast long ago, which was one of those hit hardest," he said.