Kyiv statue’s Soviet symbol replaced with Ukrainian trident 

August 7, 2023

Ukraine has removed a Soviet-era hammer-and-sickle symbol from a shield on a 334-foot statue in Kyiv with a Ukrainian trident. 

The the switch-up on the shield of the Motherland Monument is being hailed by Ukrainian officials and others as a reassertion of their culture in the wake of Russia’s February 2022 invasion. 

“We believe that this change will be the beginning of a new stage in the revival of our culture and identity, the final rejection of Soviet and Russian symbols and narratives,” said the Ukrainian culture ministry. 

The trident, or “tryzub,” has a thousand-year history in Ukrainian culture. It was the ancestral sign of the Rurik dynasty, which reigned from the 10th through the 12th centuries, and archaeologists find its image on coins, seals, utensils, bricks, murals going back centuries. However, there are dozens of theories as to its true meaning, from referring to the Holy Trinity to a bow and arrow to falcon’s wings. 

It took roughly a week to replace the Soviet symbol with the Ukrainian trident on the statue, which has stood since 1979. 

Russia’s Foreign Ministry rebuffed the removal of the Soviet symbol, arguing that “mother cannot be renamed.”

The erasure of Ukrainian identity is a key driver for Russia in the nearly-18 month-long war. Upon launching the invasion in 2022, Russian President Vladimir Putin asserted that Ukraine had no right to exist as a state independent from Russia, calling Ukrainian territory “ancient Russian lands.”

Last week, in another move to break from Russian culture, Ukraine changed the date of Christmas to the Western December 25 from the Russian Orthodox January 7.

PHOTO Source: Yevhen Zagorodniy per @Gerashchenko_en

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