Ukrainian nationalists unveil plaque in honour of rebel Chechen leader

A memorial plaque to Chechnya's first president, Dzhokhar Dudayev, was installed in Poltava yesterday and unveiled almost undercover.

Not a long time ago the Poltava Region economic court upheld a suit by the Poltava city council and ruled that the Poltava Region State Administration should remove the memorial stone which was installed at the spot of a future memorial to Symon Petlyura [Ukrainian nationalist figure of early 20th century, who was born in Poltava] as such that contradicts the Ukrainian constitution and Ukrainian laws and was not agreed with the mayor's office. Now an even more scandalous memorial sign appeared in one of Poltava's residential districts. Representatives of the International anti-imperial front and the all-Ukrainian organization Tryzub [Trident] named after Stepan Bandera installed yesterday [20 September] on building No 6 in Nikitchenko Street a memorial plaque to commemorate the first president of Chechnya, Dzhokhar Dudayev, who lived in precisely the same building when he served in the army.

The installation of the plaque was reminiscent of the "good old" Soviet times of perestroika. Everything took place under the veil of secrecy conspiracy, almost undercover, and permission from this city council was out of the question.

At the appointed time a police van with Berkut [riot police] troops was already waiting for "fans of Dudayev". Next to them a local Communist leader, who is very close to the mayor's office, blamed the "fans of Bandera" and their allies from the Poltava Region authorities (although the latter have nothing to do with the plaque) in front of television cameras.

Before that, the police detained four members of Tryzub, some from Poltava and some visitors, and brought them to the closest police station "for identification". Thus the Ukrayina Moloda correspondent as a regional council deputy had to take part in "liberating" them. While the police led by a police major and other people in civilian clothes were getting bored near one building, the plaque was being installed near another, neighbouring building. It was thus opened without the usual veil and without lengthy speeches. In addition to members of Tryzub and activists from the international anti-imperial front (the organization was created in May in Ternopil by representatives of over 10 nationalities, mostly those "tied" to the Soviet empire), local members of the UNSD [Ukrainian National Self-Defence] and the Young Rukh took part in the "quiet" ceremony. Representatives of the Young Rukh unfolded blue and yellow [national] banners near the plate. A little over 10 people in total took part in the ceremony.

Source: Ukrayina Moloda, Kiev, in Ukrainian 21 Sep 07, p 18

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