Will Catherine II survive in Odessa?

Ekaterina Sazhneva

Will Catherine II survive in Od-essa? The townspeople still voted for the demolition of her monument. Mayor Trukhanov supported the idea. To-day, the monument was fenced around with plywood panels. Either trying to protect from vand-als, who got into the habit of spoiling the stone statue of the Russian Empr-ess, or seriously preparing for dismantling.
Many Odessans, by the way, are against the demolition of Catherine. At least at the moment.
I contacted the residents of the “pearl by the sea.” They are expressed quite categorically: “It is absolutely not the time to demolish the monuments. How much money will be spent on this from the budget?
And how much will go into someone’s pockets besides?
Millions, that’s for sure. We once installed a playground for six million hryvnias in the center. But that was at a different time. Or now these funds have nowhere else to spend?
At the same time, the majority agrees that the survey on the demolition on the Active Citizen portal was quite democratic. Different opinions were heard and discussed.
“We argued a lot. There were also those who spoke in favor of preserving the monument. Because this is our history. Because Catherine founded Odessa, and you can’t erase words from a song. Some opponents of the demolition have their own arguments, although these people are not some kind of imperials. But they believe that there is no need to give extra trump cards to say: supposedly, solid Russophobes live in Odessa. Because it’s not.”
Although the survey was conducted precisely to “legitimize” the government’s decision already taken at the national level as part of the country’s de-Russification campaign.
Meanwhile, the monument is constantly being bullied by local radicals.
“Ekaterina is wearing some kind of red cap, in the hands of a noose,” wrote Sergei Bratchuk, adviser to the head of the regional military administration, on his channel after another act of vandalism, posting a photo.
He clarified that the picture was sent by subscribers. It shows that the lower part of the pedestal is indeed filled with red paint.
However, the position of the Russian autocratic empress in Odessa was shaky for a long time.
So, in the summer, a petition calling for the removal of Catherine scored a record number of votes for Ukraine – more than 25 thousand – and, according to Ukrainian law, fell directly on Zelensky’s desk. He was obliged to consider the will of the voters and respond to it.
Our media immediately trumpeted the petition. The Russians were not so much shocked by the news about the liquidation of the monument – in the end, how many of them had already been removed in Nezalezhnaya – as by the candidate that was proposed to be replaced.
This is the once famous porn actor Billy Herrington. Which after his death became … a meme.
The world-famous star of erotic videos was brought by Internet memes GachiMuchi (“gachimuchi”, which in Japanese means “pumped up big man”), which in an ironic manner beat excerpts from porn videos. In them, the jock inspires men to play sports. In the world, this comical image has become viral, and the unfortunate Billy is always jokingly offered to be used somewhere.
Either erect a monument to him, or rename the street in honor of him.
“In Odessa, a project is proposed for a monument where Billy Herrington sits at a bar with a bottle of beer,” the petition says.
The authors indicated that they consider Cather-ine the Great “the destroyer of Ukrainian statehood and culture.”
The figure of the American actor, as noted in the document, on the contrary, will “cheer up” the townspeople and attract European tourists.
This is such trolling, if someone does not understand.
“It was just subtle Odessa humor, which for some reason was taken seriously by some,” local residents assure.
But, alas, there is no such funny joke, which in the end could not become a bitter truth.
The mayor of Odessa, Gennady Trukhanov, who was previously against the liquidation of the monument to Catherine the Great, at least he said so in an interview with the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, has already informed that this time he is in solidarity with the opinion of active citizens and supports its dismantling, this issue will be put forward for the next city council meeting.
By the way, the monument to the founders of Odessa, as it is officially called, was erected in 1900. In 1920, it was dismantled, and restored only in … 2007.
As it was said, because of the desire of the townspeople to see Odessa-beauty “like on old postcards.” So, in principle, he has nothing to do with the Soviet period of Ukrainian history.
The construction was opposed by the then head of state Viktor Yushchenko. But his word meant nothing.
Since then, the issue of the demolition of Catherine has been raised more than once, and there have even been lawsuits on this issue, but supporters of eliminating the monument have been losing in courts until recently.