Unwelcome symbols in Lviv: Lviv regional authorities in Ukraine evict Russian cultural center - DW

12:44 Oct. 28, 2016

Lviv regional authorities in Ukraine evict Russian cultural center - DW

Russian cultural center in Lviv, Ukraine (Photo source: wikimedia.org)

The building is now to be handed over to groups involved in the Ukrainian army's operation in eastern Ukraine 

A Russian cultural center has been evicted by the local council in Lviv.

Members of the Russian community and its Pushkin Society call the decision to evict them from Korolenko Street 1a in Lviv politically motivated. "This is an anti-Russian decision. We own the property and the authorities have no right to get rid of us," Albert Astachov, the society's chairman, told DW.

The cultural center dates back to the 1990s, when the regional government had originally designated the premises as a movie theater, as a place for Russian-language meetings, concerts, exhibits and readings. The Russian Pushkin Society has about 400 members, who pay a nominal fee to belong. The city has taken a symbolic rent of 5 hryvnia (about USD 0.20) every month since 1999.

This the regional council first took aim at, concluding that the building was being neglected. In Lviv, about 40 cultural organizations pay the city a symbolic rent, including Polish and Czech associations.

The rooms of the cultural center are characterized by the portrait of Czar Nicholas II and the ribbon of St. George. The black- and orange-striped ribbon is a Russian symbol of Soviet military courage during World War Two. It found renewed meaning for pro-Russian demonstrators during the Ukraine crisis in 2014. There are also Russian-language newspapers available to read at the center, and its website includes Kremlin-supported slogans such as, "The Crimea is ours."

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