Russians demolish monument to Ukrainian dissident General Hryhorenko in Crimea

May 28,2024 337
Russians demolish monument to Ukrainian dissident General Hryhorenko in Crimea

Russian occupiers in Crimea demolished a monument to Ukrainian dissident General Petro Hryhorenko (Grigorenko). The monument in Simferopol was destroyed on the eve of May 18 – the Day of Remembrance of the Victims of the Crimean Tatar Genocide, reported Suspilne Krym, citing the deputy head of the Crimean Tatar Mejlis, İlmi Ümerov.

Hryhorenko supported the Crimean Tatars and opposed their deportation by the Soviet authorities from Crimea. The monument to the dissident was unveiled in 1999 in Soviet Square, initiated by the Crimean Tatar Mejlis and with the support of the People’s Movement of Ukraine, journalists write.

“It (the monument) was not in a very noticeable place and people might not have noticed it. Perhaps people are so intimidated by this (occupational) ‘government’ that they are afraid to even talk about something,” said the deputy head of the Mejlis.

Ümerov said that the occupational authorities in Crimea are fighting against Ukrainian heritage even more harshly than against the Crimean Tatars. “They (the occupiers) are concerned about everything: Ukrainian schools, Ukrainian classes, the Ukrainian language, and now a whole general… They destroy everything Ukrainian even more harshly than Crimean Tatar. Ukrainian schools have completely disappeared, Crimean Tatar ones have survived but in a different form. Before the occupation of Crimea, there were schools with the Crimean Tatar language of instruction, but now there are schools for Crimean Tatars with Russian language instruction. There are no longer Crimean Tatar schools, but there are schools that we created, where Crimean Tatars still go out of habit, inertia, even though there is no longer Crimean Tatar language instruction,” he explained.

Dissident Hryhorenko was the first Soviet general to openly criticize the Soviet system, leading to his imprisonment twice in Soviet prisons and camps. Eventually, the general emigrated to the United States, becoming part of the Ukrainian diaspora and pursuing vigorous human rights efforts. He served as the foreign representative of the Ukrainian Helsinki Group, advocated for Ukraine in numerous Western countries, and personally met with President Ronald Reagan to discuss the repression and persecution of dissenters in the USSR.

General Hryhorenko also found his final resting place in the United States. He is buried in the Ukrainian cemetery in South Bound Brook near New York City.

Cover: Suspilne Krym

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