Amid the ongoing Russia-Ukraine crisis, several Ukrainian monuments and museums have been destroyed by the Russian forces, putting a severe blow on the country’s cultural heritage. Recently, a missile struck the National Literary and Memorial Museum of Hyrhorii Skovoroda, which is situated in the village of Skovorodynivka, Kharkiv Region.
“The attack appears to have been a deliberate act of cultural vandalism, and not the first since the Russian invasion began in February,” CNN reported, sharing that the 18th-century mansion was nowhere near any obvious military targets such as railway or ammunition depot.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy condemned the attack and said, “It seems this is a terrible danger for modern Russia: museums, the Christian attitude to life and people’s self-knowledge.”
“The occupiers can destroy the museum where Hryhoriy Skovoroda worked for the last years of his life and where he was buried. But they will not destroy our memory and our values!” Oleh Synyehubov, governor of Kharkiv, said in a Telegram post.
Also known as Gregory Skovoroda or Grigory Skovoroda, Hryhoriy Skovoroda was a Ukrainian philosopher who lived and worked in the Russian Empire. Often regarded as the ‘Socrates of Ukraine’, he was also a poet, teacher, and composer.
Born in 1794, he sang in Empress Elizabeth I’s court Kapelle in Saint Petersburg, served as music director at the Russian imperial mission in Tokai, Hungary, and taught poetics at Pereiaslav College.
Some of his famous works include his collection of 30 verses titled Sad bozhestvennykh pesnei (Garden of Divine Songs), numerous songs, a collection of 30 fables titled Basni Khar’kovskiia (Kharkiv Fables), translations of Cicero, Plutarch, Horace, Ovid, and Muretus, and letters, written mostly in Latin. Some of Skovoroda’s songs and poems became part of Ukrainian folklore.