Soviet monument to Zhukov, pro-Russian party congress spark major protests in Kharkiv
On June 2, dozens of nationalist protesters, including the far-right National Corps, demonstrated against the party congress where Kharkiv Mayor Gennady Kernes and Odesa Mayor Gennady Trukhanov united their political forces into the new Doveryai Delam party. The protesters clashed with police and toppled a nearby monument to Grigory Zhukov, a Soviet marshal who held top military jobs during World War II and was also the Soviet Union's defense minister from 1955 to 1957. Demonstrators and Ukraine’s National Memory Institute argue that the country’s decommunization law, which requires monuments of top Soviet officials to be taken down, supports the remove of the Zhukov statue. Their opponents claim that the law exempts monuments linked to the Soviet Union's war with Nazi Germany. Kernes lashed out at the protesters, calling them “scum.” He said that Vidrodzhennya party lawmaker Vitaly Khomutynnik’s charitable foundation would restore the Zhukov monument. Kernes also said the city council would consider renaming Petro Grygorenko Avenue, on which the Zhukov monument is located, to its pre-2016 name: Marshal Zhukov Avenue.