Literary Monuments

more than a year ago

One of the most prominent figures of Ukrainian culture is the well-known Taras Shevchenko, the renowned poet who’s likeness is cast in dozens of monuments throughout the country. Three other well-known figures are tucked in Kyiv’s streets, but there are the only physical manifestations of them aside from printed word. They are the creations of two Ukrainian writers of fiction, cast in metal to represent the characters who tickled the imagination of millions of readers from the former Soviet Union and modern Ukrainian and Russian speaking people.

Just up-hill from Khreschatyk Street on Prorizna you will see a statue of Panikovs’kyi, walking with a stick and dark glasses. He is a main character of the book “The Golden Calf”, a comedy by the Odessan writers. I.Ilf and E.Petrov, written in the 1920’s. In this novel, Panikovs’kyi posed as a blind beggar, hence the cane and glasses on the statue. The character’s relevance to this particular spot is thatit is there in the novel he met the city’s mayor every mounth to pat a bribe of 5 roubles in exchange for being left alone by police. Some things never change. Supposedly there is a kopek stuck to the bottom of his shoe, which you can see if you hold a mirror under it. Unfortunately, the male writer of this article hasn’t had a cosmetic mirror with him then passing by this statue.

The second monument depicts characters from the book “Chasing Two Hares” by Mykhailo Staryts’kyi, and can be founded near St. Andrew’s Cathedral. The story revolves around Golohvastov, the son of the hairdresser who was relatively poor. He was in love with a girl of a similar social standing, but managed to capture the attention of a girl from rich family, Pronia Prokopovna, by convincing her that he was wealthy. Predictably, the plot line centres around Golohvastov’ courting and deceiving the two young women, but is eventually caugth when the two find out about each other. The monument marks the spot of this catastrophe, a memorial to Golohvastov, and the local men and at least one foreign man who have found themselves in a similar situation. In the end he is left without one of them, which make the fact that couples on their wedding day will visit this monument (as well as others) and place flowers on it seems contradictive.

The monuments were commissioned in 1998 and 1999 respectively, commissioned by owners of the Etalon Bank in Kyiv. These things are expencive so they must be big fans.


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