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Photos author is Alexander Lytvyn

Bohdan Khmelnytskyi Monument

Concerning with the sight:

Bohdan Khmelnytskyi Monument

For a long time, this monument could not find a place in the urban landscape. Funds were collected by subscription, but they were not enough, and Mikhail Mikeshin’s project raised questions from both the city authorities and the public. The sculptor’s idea was in line with the Russian Imperial paradigm: Khmelnytskyi was to throw off a cliff a Polish szlachtycz, a Jew and a Jesuit, and lower the peasants – a Great Russian, a Little Russian, a Belarusian and a Red Russian – were to listen to a kobza player. However, Governor-General Alexander Dondukov-Korsakov thought that to be a bit too much and reduced the budget leaving only the figure of the hetman on horseback.

In 1879, the statue was finally cast in bronze and brought to Kyiv, but could not be installed because of lack of funds for a pedestal. While architect Vladimir Nikolayev was working free of charge to reduce the cost of the project and added a fence with lanterns on the saved money, Khmelnytskyi stood for eight years in the yard of the State Offices (now, Pechersk district court). Therefore, Kyivans started joking that as soon as Bohdan came to Kyiv he was arrested together with his horse. According to a legend, Khmelnytskyi was also turned in different directions so that the horse would not show its tail to either St. Michael’s Cathedral or St. Sophia. In 1888, the long-suffering hetman finally took his place on St. Sophia Square, where we see him now.

The monument fits perfectly into the ensemble of the square between the two cathedrals. Due to the dynamics of the figures, it seems as if Khmelnytskyi is about to ride off the pedestal. This is how the monument was perceived by writers: Volodymyr Sosiura wrote about how ‘Bohdan’s bronze is coming to life’, Vasyl Stus added that Bohdan sends his stallion into gallop, and in Pavlo Zagrebelnyi’s novel I, Bohdan the monument to Khmelnytskyi becomes the narrator.

Concerning with the sight: