January 18, 2023

So Long to Kate


So Long to Kate
Riding less-than-triumphantly: a contemporary portrait of a young Catherine. The Russian Life files.

In recent weeks Odesa, Ukraine has removed its public statues of Catherine the Great, the Russian empress instrumental in founding the city.

The move comes amid the continued "de-Russification" of Ukraine. Local authorities are distancing themselves from Russian influence amid a bloody and continuing conflict

The statues had been repeatedly vandalized since Russia began its invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022. Recently, an electronic poll conducted by the city found support for removing the monuments. Over the New Year holidays, city officials did just that.

Catherine II, known to history as "the Great," ruled Russia as empress from 1762 to 1796. Her campaigns into what is now Ukraine extended Russian influence in the Black Sea area and led to the founding of Odesa, Sevastopol, and Kherson.

Through this colonization of the area, Catherine also created the idea of "New Russia," "Novorossiya," a phrase often used in Kremlin propaganda to justify the invasion of Ukraine.

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