Translated from Dutch NOS TV:
Kiev: the end of the rainbow?
Ukraine is not known as a particularly pro-gay country, but with the Eurovision Song Contest, the city of Kiev wanted to improve its image. Therefore it was decided to paint a monument from the Soviet era in the colours of the rainbow.
Meanwhile, the monument to the brotherhood between Russians and Ukrainians is almost completely “coloured”. But at the last moment, the project has been suspended because of protests.
The painting is almost finished, only at the top of the middle it is still grey. And that will probably stay that way. The nationalist party ‘Right Sector‘ held a protest at the arch last week. In a statement, the party called the rainbow a symbol of “homo propaganda“, and it was supposedly against “Ukrainian values“.
‘Nationalist’ is an euphemism for the violent neonazi Right Sector. Their leader Yarosh makes lots of money as adviser to the Minister of
War … err … ‘Defence’. They use to attack Gay Pride marches in Ukraine violently, including with grenades to which in most countries only police and armed forces or people who are special friends of police and/or armed forces, have access.
Contrary to what the Right Sector says, the rainbow is not just for gay people, but also for wider unity in diversity. It is also a symbol in, eg, the Christian religion.
Prime Minister Grojsman said at a vote in parliament that “God forbid” that the country would legalize equal marriage for homosexuals.
Ukraine organizes this year’s Song Festival, the motto is Celebrate Diversity. The first semifinal is on May 9th. Many people are happy with the rainbow colours. They hope the colours will still be there at the Gay Pride. That wil be in Kiev on June 18th.
After the protests of the nationalists, Mayor Vitali Klitschko has proposed a compromise: the last part, which is still grey since the protests, will be painted in a “traditional Ukrainian pattern”.
The “Arch of Friendship of the Nations” was built in 1982 to celebrate the brotherhood of Russians and Ukrainians in the Soviet Union. The monument is of titanium, 50 meters high, and can be seen from many places in the city.
Last year, the government announced it would be destroyed, because the relationship between Moscow and Kiev … has worsened strongly.