Kyiv fortress, the world’s largest earth fortification, demolished

16:48, 22 January 2007
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To make way for multistoried residential complex

On December 30, the Kyiv Fortress, the world`s largest earth fortification, was demolished by special vehicles for building modern constructions, according to an article by Tetiana Kolesnychenko, the Day Weekly Digest.

Nobody even blinked when on the evening of Dec. 30 special vehicles pulled up to the Kyiv Fortress and razed three mid-19th-century structures to the ground.

These architectural monuments, which were torn down on New Year`s Eve, are making way for a multistoried residential complex that builders, investors, and municipal bureaucrats think is more important for the city.

Meanwhile, for the last several years the administration of the Kyiv Fortress has been trying to bring all its museum buildings together into a single complex.

Instructions to this effect came from President Viktor Yushchenko, Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych, and Verkhovna Rada Speaker Oleksandr Moroz.

Yet, by all accounts, the signatures of Ukraine`s three bosses failed to scare the builders. Initially, the Kyiv City Council gave permission for the construction of a residential complex and demolition of a few dilapidated museum structures that were used as sheds.

But the builders also thought it necessary to tear down three monuments of national importance, including the former Kyiv telegraph, the only structure that had retained its original shape.

Kyiv Fortress director Viacheslav Kulinich says that the builders have found a formal excuse: they allege that the three structures did not have a protection number and did not display any information plaques.

"This is nonsense. Maybe they have no protection number, but even if the builders could prove this in court, construction on the territory of the preserve is banned," says Kulinich.

The administration still does not know what to do in this situation, but its members intend to take up the cudgels against the brazen builders.

Kulinich says an unidentified person has already threatened him with dismissal. It should be noted that the museum management also shares the blame for the destruction of the three historical monuments: although the territory of the preserve measures ten square kilometers, the management is directly responsible for keeping all the structures safe.

Whereas in the past investors could only get their paws on children`s playgrounds and pleasure gardens, now they are targeting nature preserves, parks, and even museums.

Paradoxically, even the most mindless and absurd eyesores in the capital of Ukraine have received the go-ahead from bureaucrats and experts, and no one can change the existing situation, even the president, let alone Mayor Leonid Chernovetsky.

Banning the build-up of the city`s historic quarter was high on the list of the mayor`s pre-election slogans. But promises have remained just that.

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