In Odesa, the sculpture of the russian Empress Catherine II was demolished on the Monument to the founders of Odesa. Sculptures of Commander-in-Chief of the Southern Army Grigory Potemkin, Governor-General of the Novorossiysk Territory Platon Zubov, engineer Franz de Volan and Vice Admiral Joseph de Ribas, who were under the figure of Catherine II, were also dismantled.
Odesa City Council supported this decision at the end of November. It was decided to temporarily move the monument to the art museum.
The monument to the founders of Odesa was built in 1900, after 20 years the Soviet government dismantled it, damaging the figure of Catherine II. The composition was reinstalled in 2007, recasting the sculpture of the Empress. After a full-scale russian invasion of Ukraine, residents turned to local authorities with a request to remove the monument. Two such petitions were filed in the name of President Volodymyr Zelensky.
A monument to russian commander Alexander Suvorov was also dismantled in Odesa.
After the start of a full-scale war in Ukraine, the names of settlements, streets, squares and parks are changed, and monuments and memorial plaques associated with russia or the Soviet Union are removed. The government of Ukraine earlier returned to the city of Novograd-Volynsky its historical name Zvyagel, and in Kharkiv, they dismantled a bust of the poet Alexander Pushkin and a monument to Soviet Marshal Georgy Zhukov.
The dismantling of the monument caused sharp criticism in russia. The russians again forgot that what is happening in Ukraine is only an internal affair of Ukraine and Ukrainians. With the beginning of the genocide in 2022, the desire of local residents to throw away everything near-russian becomes clear and logical as never before. The crazy neighbor is destroying the cities of Ukraine, killing defenders and civilians, and millions of women and children are fleeing the country in the hope of surviving.
Residents of Odesa explain why they do not like this monument: “First, Catherine II forbade teaching in Ukrainian, printing the alphabet, Ukrainian books. Then there was the physical destruction of local figures and activists, the abolition of local laws and Cossack orders, in fact, the establishment of slavery.
Dictator Putin, justifying the seizure of the south of Ukraine, often calls Odesa a "primordially russian city", referring precisely to Catherine II as its founder. He also noted that "even extreme nationalists are afraid to demolish the monument to the founder of the city."
But Ukrainian historians categorically disagree with these Putin's historical digressions: they argue that the first settlements on the site of present-day Odesa appeared long before Catherine II, back in the 14th century. The city was then called Khadzhibey.