Potemkin: Russia removes bones of 18th-century commander revered by Putin from occupied Ukrainian city



CNN

Pro-Russian authorities say they have removed the remains of legendary 18th-century Russian commander Grigory Potemkin from the occupied Ukrainian city of Kherson.

Removed from the Cathedral of St. Catherine Potemkin’s bones and moved across the Dnipro River into Russian-controlled territory, along with the statue of the military leader, pro-Russian proxy governor Vladimir Saldo told the Crimean television.

“We moved it to the Church of St. Catherine and the monument to the left are the remains of Prince Potemkin Highness Tony. [east] bank,” Saldo said, according to Russian state news agency RIA Novosti.

Potemkin played a key role in the annexation of Crimea to the Turks in 1783, and his memory is central to those within Russia who seek to restore the country’s former imperial possessions. . Putin relied on his legacy when he justified the annexation of Crimea in 2014.

Monuments to naval commander Fyodor Ushakov and commanders Alexander Suvorov and Vasily Margelov were removed from the church and taken to an unknown location, Saldo said. The relics will be returned when the city is more peaceful, he added.

Prince Grigory Potemkin was an 18th century Russian statesman, army general, favorite and adviser to Empress Catherine the Great. His name has come up several times in the Kremlin since Russia invaded Ukraine. Recently, in his speech during the ceremony of annexing a new territory, Putin mentioned Potemkin as one of the founders of a new city in the eastern part of Ukraine which referred to the territory as Novorossiya which means “Russia News”.

Potemkin is believed to be behind the plan to conquer Crimea which Russia first annexed in 1783 as a result of a peace treaty with the Ottoman Empire. He was then given a military rank and founded the city of Sevastopol in Crimea, making it a major Russian naval base on the Black Sea. Potemkin’s newly built Black Sea Fleet played a major role in Russia’s success in the Second Turkish War of 1768-1774.

In Russia, Potemkin’s name is often associated with the “Potemkin village,” a term used to describe a facade designed specifically to hide an ugly truth and create a false image of health. The phrase goes back to unproven historical legends about him arranging elaborate decorations, such as allegedly setting up a cardboard city with painted ships and cannons, to impress Catherine the Great and her foreign friends during the was in Crimea after its annexation.

The operation to remove his body was carried out as the Ukrainian army pursued the city of Kherson, after a series of successful attacks in the surrounding area.

The situation in the city is “tense” with Russia deploying “large numbers of Russian troops” there, an official told Ukrainian television on Friday.

“People in the occupied territories I speak to say that there are more Russian soldiers on the streets than local residents,” said Halyna Luhova, a member of the Kherson city council.

The UK Ministry of Defense said in a daily news update on Friday that it was “likely” that Russian forces had been sent to reinforce the regional capital and the west bank. the “active reservists”.

In the past two weeks, the Kremlin-backed administration of Kherson has sent a dire message of Ukrainian plans to retake the city, driving thousands of residents across the Dnipro River, deeper into the the territory controlled by Russia. Ukraine has accused Russia of creating “hysteria” to force residents to leave.

Moscow has also begun to reduce its occupation of Kherson. Ukrainian officials said the Russians were evacuating wounded people, administrative agencies and government institutions out of the city, while sending more troops to reinforce their positions.

Museums and other cultural organizations in Ukraine have been fighting to save the country’s relics and artifacts since Russia invaded in February.

In May, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Russian forces had destroyed hundreds of important cultural sites.

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