These images show the dismantling of the monument to the Russian Empress Catherine II and the “founders of the city” on Wednesday night (28 December 2022).
The monument featured Russia’s most famous Empress at its centre, alongside her companions José de Ribas, François Sainte de Wollant, Platon Zubov and Grigory Potemkin. It was originally built in 1900, but taken down in 1920 following the Russian Revolution and Civil War.
It was restored in 2007. However, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February, citizens of Odesa voted in a survey for its removal. It will be moved to Odesa Fine Arts Museum.
Catherine and her officials earmarked the site of a fishing village, where Odesa now stands, for a major Black Sea port in the 1790s – sparking its growth into a major city. However, the monument had become controversial there due to its connections with Russian nationalism and the view that Ukraine should not be independent from its neighbour.
The statue of Catherine at the centre of the monument was subsequently replaced by a Ukrainian flag. (Cover Images Via Reuters)