17 June 2015

Bohdan Khmelnytsky Has Never Been in... (Khmelnytskyi - 2159 km)

(Khmelnytskyi, 16.06.2015 - 17.06.2015) Under Soviet rule the city of Proskuriv was renamed Khmelnytskyi in the honor of the 300th anniversary of the Treaty of Pereyaslav  which resulted in the creation of  the Ukrainian Cossack state negotiated by Bohdan Khmelnytsky  Both by the Soviet historiography and according to the Imperial Russian theory, Khmelnytsky was praised not only for re-unifying Ukraine with Russia, but also for organizing the class struggle of oppressed Ukrainian peasants against Polish exploiters. But at the same time, i. e. between 1648–1656, Khmelnytsky's rebels murdered tens of thousands of Jews. Atrocity stories about massacre victims who had been buried alive, cut to pieces or forced to kill one another spread throughout Europe and beyond.

Accidental interview with a young man, a well-educated English speaker, in front of the Khmelnytskyi Town Hall:

- Sorry, is this monument in front of your town hall dedicated to Bohdan Khmelnytsky?
- No, it isn't and frankly speaking, I'm feeling ashamed of such a monstrosity in our hometown.
- By the way, do you feel comfortable with the name of your hometown?
- Yes, of course, from our point of view Bohdan Khmelnytsky was a Ukrainian hero?
- It doesn't matter, that the renaming was effected by the Soviets, why don't you re-rename the town?
- The focus was on Bohdan Khmelnytsky's Ukrainian fight against the Polish dominance.
- Rgardless of the atrocities committed by Bohdan Khmelnytsky's rebels against Poles and Jews?
- I understand your point, but for us he was still a fighter for liberation.
- So, the killing of Poles and Jews was a kind of "collateral damage"?
- Yes, you might say that.

In front of the main railroad station we'll meet Bohdan Khmelnytsky again as well as many other remains from the Soviet times.

However, that doesn't mean at all that life in Khmelnytskyi is oppressively dark and grey. It's for sure not a metropolis, but nevertheless it's a charming town, in all but the name...?!

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