Historical Buildings Under Threat in Kiev
Medieval knights are defending Kiev at the walls of Ukraine’s Ministry of Culture. Rally participants say the authorities do not protect the city’s ancient buildings, but destroy them instead.
Mikhail Andreev is a guide for Kiev. He has been taking pictures of his native city for 30 years. He says many old buildings have gone out of his memory.
[Mikhail Andreev, Rally Participant]:
"They begin to evict people gradually, and then they hang a mesh around the building and the building is dead. All communications are severed and it is clear that everything has become cool. The walls rattle, the floors collapse, and the building dies quietly.”
According to the protesters, condemning buildings is one way to get rid of them. Another way to bring about the same fate is to remove buildings from the register of sample architecture.
[Eugene Carp, Rally participant]:
"There is this dark closed procedure, which neither journalists nor Kievites know about. It’s when a sect of architects gathers and decides whether a particular building should stay or not. They come together once a year and decide that this house is a sample of architecture, while that one is not.”
This rally was called to protest the demolition of a 1909 mansion in Podil, one of the oldest districts of Kiev.
The building was razed to the ground on the night of December 30th.
Activists blame the Ministry of Culture for the demolition of the building, because mansions are not included in the register of sample architecture.
The city’s main architect says there is another reason as well.
[Sergei Tselovalnik, Chief Architect of Kiev]:
"It is impossible to provide engineering solutions for the conservation and stabilization of the building because it is on a slope. That slope has to be worked on to prevent ‘hill creep’ and the mansion was in the way. Some important engineering work would have to be done if the building were to stay…I don’t know if it would need to be raised or lowered. But whatever was done would influence the existence of this house.”
Rally participants say any old building could be under threat of demolition.
They are calling for a public meeting to determine whether or not a building is entitled to be in the register of sample architecture.
Activists are also demanding that the owners of the old houses be brought to justice for allowing them to be condemned.
NTD News, Kiev, Ukraine