“I don’t get no respect,” Catherine the Great of Russia (wherever she is now) surely must be saying, while Rodney Dangerfield’s ghost is calling his agent to send Kate a Cease & Desist letter for stealing his catchphrase. As the founder of the city on the Black Sea, does she not deserve the love, or at least the respect, of the Odesites?
Well, Odesites do not seem to think so it appears, at least not since the full-scale Russian invasion was launched on February. The city council announced the decision to remove the statue on its website on Wednesday. A slim majority of Odesa residents had earlier voted in an online poll organised by city authorities supporting the removal of the statue towering over one of the city’s central squares.
Local lawmakers had also voted to remove and relocate a monument to an 18th century Russian general, Alexander Suvorov. The statues are first to be moved to a temporary storage space and then to a museum, media outlet Suspilne reported.
The statue of Catherine the Great of Russia has been repeatedly vandalised since the start of the war. The statue was doused in red paint at least twice over the past nine months. In early November, somebody had put an executioner’s hood on her head and a noose in her hand.
The statue was first erected in 1900, and later dismantled in 1920 under order of the Soviet authorities. To honour the founder of the city, Ukrainian authorities had restored it only recently, in 2007. But this time it may be gone for good, as Ukrainians across the nation, including in areas with the Russophone majority the Kremlin claims to want to “liberate”, want all ties broken with Moscow.