Saturday, April 14, 2012
Preservation, Ukranian style
From Yahoo News:
Ukraine's richest man, Rinat Akhmetov, has been forced to scrap plans to build a glitzy business centre at a historic tourist site in Kiev after a public outcry in which he was accused of "spitting on the soul" of the capital.
Protests by several hundred people brought a rare dose of bad publicity for the 45-year-old steel and coal tycoon who normally shuns the public limelight but is one of the most influential political players in the ex-Soviet republic.
Several hundred protesters, alerted by the social networking site Facebook, turned out to rally on Wednesday night against plans by the billionaire's System Capital Management (SCM) company to build a multi-storey business centre on "Andriyivsky Descent", a picturesque cobbled street and one of Ukraine's best-known tourist spots.
But the protests came too late to stop bulldozers from destroying at least one 19th century building and wrecking another built 40 years ago in mock 19th century style, cultural officials said.
Chanting "(Put) Akhmetov down a mine shaft !" and "Get Akhmetov out of town", several protesters dumped building material near SCM headquarters to signify their disgust.
"They have come here and brutally turned things into a pig-sty," said Olexander Serhiyenko, a member of a Kiev civic organisation. "They have spat on the soul of Kiev with their 'Andriyivsky Plaza'", he said.