Kiev, November 25, Interfax - The monument to Jewish writer Sholem Aleichem in downtown Kiev was vandalized in the early hours of Monday; an unidentified person painted a red swastika on it.
The monument is located on Rohnidynska Street not far from the Brodsky Choral Synagogue.
"Yet another provocation aimed against our synagogue [...] [happened] this morning," Chief Rabbi of Ukraine and Kiev Moshe Reuven Azman wrote on Facebook on Monday and posted photographs taken at the scene of the incident.
The investigative department of the Pecherskyi district police station has initiated a criminal case following the incident.
"An employee of the religious institution on Shota Rustaveli Street reported to the Kiev police that unknown individuals had drawn on the monument with paint at night. The operative and investigative team of the Pecherskyi district police station responded to the call and documented the incident," the Kiev police communications department said.
A criminal case of hooliganism was opened; the punishment is up to five years of imprisonment. "The measures to determine and detain the persons involved in the offense are under way," the communications department said.
The life-size Sholem Aleichem monument was built on Baseina Street in 1997, was moved to Rohnidynska Street in 2001, and underwent restoration in 2005. The height of the bronze sculpture is 2.5 meters; it is installed on a 0.8-meter high pedestal. It stands on steps engraved with the writer's surname in Ukrainian and Yiddish.
Sholem Aleichem spent his early years in what is now the Kiev Region and in the city of Lubny in the Poltava Region and resided in Kiev in 1887-1890 and 1893-1905, later relocating to Lvov. He then lived in Italy, Switzerland, and the United States.