Contenders for pedestals. Opinions of citizens divided
The Consul General of Slovakia proposed to establish a monument to Milan Stefanik in Uzhgorod. Opinions of citizens divided
During its more than thousand-year history, Uzhgorod has been "passed" from one country to another about a dozen times, resulting not only in multinationality of its citizens and colorful cultures, but also in personification of idols on pedestals. Modest and grand monuments to national geniuses and prominent cultural figures and artists of the region - T. Shevchenko, S. Petofi, A. Pushkin, T. Masaryk, O. Dukhnovych, A. Voloshin, Ye. Fentsyk, A. Erdelyi and Y. Bokshay, I. Roshkovich - erected decades ago and recently, decorate magnificent squares and quiet parks of the city.
However ideological symbols of different eras have quite a different fate. The first large-scale monument in Uzhgorod was the sculpture of the president-founder of Czechoslovakia Tomas Masaryk erected after his death in 1935. It did not last long - in 1939 Uzhgorod went to Hungary and a new idol - Magyar Regent Miklos Horta - appeared on the old pedestal. But his story did not last long either - the Soviets came in 1944 and replaced the image of Admiral M. Horti on the "Masaryk's" pedestal with Marshal Stalin. After dethroning of the "personality cult", the monument was dismanted and it was decided to erect a majestic monument to the proletarian leader Vladimir Lenin in some more "lucky" place where he had to stand forever. But it was not to be - in 1991 it was demolished too...
During the "inventory" of current Uzhgorod monuments, it was found out that there was not a single representative of Slovak nationality among them. The Consul General Janka Burianova asked Uzhgorod Mayor B. Andriyiv to find a way to erect a monument to Milan Stefanik who actively participated in the creation of the Czechoslovak Republic and the Mayor agreed.
While the very idea to memorialize a famous son of Slovakia on the territory of Uzhgorod is perceived positively, there is a question about the contender.
"He was the first Slovak, who influenced European politics with his diplomacy"
Janka BURIANOVA, the Consul General of Slovakia in the city. Uzhgorod:
- Milan Rastislav Stefanik was a prominent Slovak scientist, writer, soldier, diplomat and politician. He played a prominent role in the creation of the Czechoslovak Republic in 1918 and prepared its international recognition with his active foreign diplomacy. Even before the creation of the state, he formed the army - Czechoslovak foreign legion. In the first government of Czechoslovakia, he headed the Ministry of Defence.
The significance of his personality is not only in the crucial contribution to the establishment of the first free state of Czechs and Slovaks. He was the first Slovak who influenced European politics with his diplomacy. He assumed that there would be a period, which he defined as "Europeanization" - a state of harmony between European nations, his ideas were very progressive and are still relevant.
"Poet, journalist and social activist Bohuslav NOSAK-NEZABUDOV deserves to be perpetuated"
Oleksandr Havrosh, writer and journalist:
- How would Slovaks responded if Kyiv suggested to erect in Presov or Kosice a monument to General Skoropadsky or the Minister of Defence Petliura as a sign of Ukrainian-Slovak friendship? Probably, they would not accept this idea. Instead, there are many Slovak figures who contributed to understanding between our peoples and deserve to be perpetuated. For example, poet, journalist and public figure Bohuslav Nosak-Nezabudov, who visited our city in 1843 and left a priceless stories titled "Letters from an unknown country." Thanks to him, we have a unique picture of Transcarpathia in 1843. His bust in front of the school with Slovak language of teaching in the city on the Uzh, which he wrote about so well, would be very appropriate.
"No one in the region knows who M. Stefanik is"
Volodymyr Pipash, the chairman of the regional association of "Prosvita", candidate of historical sciences:
- We respect the leaders of the Czechoslovak national liberation movement, the creators of independent Czechoslovakia. In Uzhgorod, there is a monument to the first president of the state TG Masaryk, although in Slovakia there is not a single one in honor of the leaders of Ukrainian national movement, fighters for Ukraine's independence, even to Hrushevsky.
However, if TG Masaryk is remembered in our region, almost no one here knows who M. Stefanik is. And no wonder, for he has nothing to do with Transcarpathia. Instead, there are many other personalities of the Czech and Slovak nationalities who deserve respect of Transcarpathians. These include architect František Krupka, who left a remarkable legacy in Uzhgorod - the architectural ensemble of the Halahov neighborhood, the current Narodna Square, and above all - the building of the People's Council and the Government of Carpathian Ruthenia.
"The period of Transcarpathia in Czechoslovakia is 20 years of success"
Svitlana Pakhomova, Professor, Head of the Slovak philology department of UzhNU:
- Stefanik is the most prominent intellectual of Slovak nation, a brilliant scientist in the field of astronomy. During the First World War, he was a pilot, soldier, diplomat, active figure, which was at the forefront of the Czechoslovak Republic, the most democratic country in its time, which was our region was a part of in 1919 - 1938.
The period of Transcarpathia in Czechoslovakia is 20 years of success, 20 years of development. And it is in this perspective that I think about the possibility to perpetuate the memory of Milan Stefanik in Uzhgorod.
As for cultural leaders of Slovakia, writer and journalist Bohus Nosak-Nezabudov is certainly worthy of honoring