The dismantling of a monument to Russian imperial monarch Catherine the Great in Odesa has begun, local news outlet Dumska reported on Dec. 28
Traffic on a nearby square nearby has been restricted until he end of the dismantling process, Dumska added.
Workers are conducting preparations for the monument’s eventual removal from its place at Katerynynska Square in central Odesa. According to Dumska, this involves removing a recently erected sarcophagus meant to protect the statue from Russian shelling and attacks.
A petition to the presidential administration to demolish the statue gathered steam earlier this year, when it gathered the required 25,000 signatures needed to receive official comment.
In response, Zelenskyy stressed the importance of protecting national interests, specifically creating public spaces free from objects linked to Russian and Soviet imperial history, which "still repeat Russian and anti-Ukrainian narratives”. He also passed the petition along to the city council for further consideration.
Odesa residents voted to demolish the status in an online poll on Nov. 5, where a slim majority (50.2%) voted in favor of its removal.
This decision was approved by Odesa’s city council on Nov. 30.
The statue was defaced twice in September with splashes of red paint, and the inscription “Catherine = Putin”. On Nov. 2, a red hood was placed upon the head of the statue, and a rope for hanging was put in its right hand.
Odesa mayor Gennadiy Trukhanov called for the monument to be later re-established in a park that would be dedicated to the city’s history under imperial Russian rule.