Belgorod, Russia, August 1, 2014
A bronze bust of the great hetman from Zaporozhye, military leader and statesman Bogdan (Zinovy) Khmelnitsky (c. 1595-1657) has been erected near the avenue with the same name at the Holy Trinity Boulevard of Belgorod, reports the BEL.ru news agency.
Bogdan Khmelnitsky was the Hetman of the Zaporozhian Host (Cossack army) of the Crown of the Kingdom of Poland in the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth (now part of Ukraine). He led an uprising against the Commonwealth and its magnates (1648–1654) which resulted in the creation of a Cossack state. In 1654, he concluded the Treaty of Pereyaslav with the Tsardom of Russia, which led to the incorporation of the Ukraine into the Tsardom (later Empire) of Russia. This offered the protection of the Tsar and of a friendly Orthodox power.
The monument was solemnly unveiled by Eugene Savchenko, Belgorod Region governor; Metropolitan John of Belgorod and Stary Oskol; Alexander Sklyarov, first vice-chairman of the regional Duma; Sergei Bozhenov, mayor of Belgorod; and the monument’s creator—sculptor Alexander Lokhtachev.
“Today we are experiencing difficult times. Relations between Russia and the Ukraine are being “eaten away” by the “rust” of anger and hatred on the one hand and of pain and compassion - on the other hand. At such periods of crises and trials new Bogdan Khmelnitskies appear, who will rise above today’s problems and will call upon all of us to cease the bloodshed,” Eugene Savchenko said.
He proposed engraving Bogdan Khmelnitsky’s words on the base of the monument: “So let us be united with the Russian people forever,” and that Bogdan Khmelnitsky Avenue which runs through Belgorod from the north to the south, be extended from the center of Belgorod to the center of Kharkov. “It will be the avenue of our friendship, the new artery through which the new blood of our brotherly relations will flow,” concluded the region’s head.
Metropolitan John blessed the bust and called the unveiling of this monument a signal to Ukrainian residents that we are of the same faith and will not allow others to rewrite history for the sake of somebody’s momentary goals.
Plans to unveil a monument to Bogdan Khmelnitsky were voiced at the beginning of this year in Belgorod at the spiritual-cultural meeting dedicated to the 360th anniversary of the decision to unite the territory of the Ukraine with Russia. The monument was made in the town of Zlatoust in the Chelyabinsk region and cast in bronze in Minsk.