Freedom Square (Kharkiv)

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Freedom Square
Plóshcha Svobodý (in Ukrainian)
Ukrainereise - Donbass (16359863728).jpg
View of Freedom Square from Sumska Street
Location Kharkiv, Ukraine

Freedom Square (Ukrainian: Площа Свободи, Plóshcha Svobodý; Russian: Площадь Свободы, Plóshchad' Svobódy) in Kharkiv is the 8th largest city-centre square in Europe.


1938 map of Kharkiv

Upon the Soviet takeover the square was named Maidan Dzerzhynskoho (Ukrainian: майдан Дзержинського) in 1926 after Felix Dzerzhinsky, the founder of the Bolshevik secret police (the Cheka, precursor to the KGB). It is depicted on maps of Kharkiv of 1938.

After the independence of Ukraine it was renamed Freedom Square. During the brief German occupation the name of the square changed twice: in 1942 the square was named German Army Square, and in 1943 Leibstandarte SS Square.[1]


The main part of the square is bordered to the west by the site of a removed statue of Lenin, to the east by Sumska Street, to the north by the Hotel Kharkiv and to the south by Shevchenko park. It is approximately 690–750 metres (2,260–2,460 feet) long and 96–125 metres (315–410 feet) wide. The area of the complete square is approximately 12 hectares (30 acres).[citation needed]


A notable landmark of the square is the Derzhprom building, a prime example of constructivist architecture.

The Kharkiv regional state administration is situated at one end of the square.[2]

A monumental statue of Lenin was erected in 1964 and was torn down by protesters on September 28, 2014.[3] In August 2016 pavers were laid on the site where the statue of Lenin stood.[4]

After an open competition it was decided on 3 February 2017 that Freedom Square will get a new 86 meters high monument.[5] At its top an angel with an Orthodox cross watching over four figures who somehow resonate with the history of Slobozhanshchina (Anacharsis, Igor Svyatoslavich, Semen Hulak-Artemovsky and Mykhaylo Petrenko (uk)).[5]

After the monument has been approved the intrigue was highly spread in social networks; the civil society in Kharkiv had clearly expressed its opposition to the competition since the designed sculpture doesn´t fit in the urban context of this square and surroundings obliterating the symbolic value of the space that, until the interventions in 2014, was considered of historical value.

A petition demanding to cancel the decision on installing the column was registered on the official website of the Kharkiv City Council and more than 5000 people have voted, establishing the minimum number for the Kharkiv City Council give an official answer for the request, but till now no willingness to address this exposure has been shown. This petition was supported by Docomomo International.[6]


Protests and rallies[edit]

In 2014 the square was the site of demonstrations by pro-Russian and pro-Ukrainian activists in Kharkiv.[7]

Other events and recreational activities[edit]

Queen + Paul Rodgers kicked off their Rock the Cosmos Tour at Freedom Square on September 12, 2008 & gathered 350,000 audience members, the show was recorded for a DVD release, entitled Live in Ukraine, which was released on June 15, 2009.[8]

Victory Parades[edit]

From 2010 to 2013[9] it hosted an annual military parade in honor of Victory Day with the participation of the troops of the Kharkiv Garrison, military academies located in Kharkiv and troops from Russia.



  1. ^ "Kharkiv through the eyes of Lyudmila Gurchenko". 31 March 2011. Retrieved 31 March 2011.
  2. ^ Kharkiv an island of calm in Ukraine's turbulent east, The Irish Times (8 May 2014)
  3. ^ "Ukrainians just pulled down a massive Lenin statue. What does that signal for Russia?". Washington Post. September 29, 2014. Retrieved October 5, 2014.
  4. ^ (in Russian) The reconstruction of the square in the square (photo), SQ (10 August 2016)
    (in Russian) Liberty Square returned to original form, SQ (8 August 2016)
  5. ^ a b (in Ukrainian) Lenin in Kharkiv replacement found, Ukrayinska Pravda (3 February 2017)
    (in Russian) It is known to be a monument to the Freedom Square (photo), SQ (3 February 2017)
  6. ^ Under Threat: Freedom Square in Kharkiv, Ukraine (DATE: 27/2/2017)
  7. ^ Pro-Russian rally draws 5,000 people in Ukraine's Kharkiv, Kyiv Post (6 March 2014)
    Tensions ease in Ukraine's second city of Kharkiv, BBC News (5 March 2014)
    (in Ukrainian) Ukraine celebrated the 200th anniversary of the birth of Shevchenko, BBC Ukrainian (9 March 2014)
    Kharkiv demonstration demands broad autonomy for southeastern regions, Kyiv Post (March 22, 2014)
    A woman holds a placard reading 'Kharkiv loves Crimea' while Pro-Ukrainian activists sing the state anthem during a rally in the center of the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv on March 6, 2014, as they protest against the Russian aggression in Crimea, Getty Images (6 March 2014)
    Russia supporters in eastern Ukraine pose challenges to pro-Western government, (March 15, 2014)
    "Latest from the Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine – based on information received up until 27 April 2014". Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe. 28 April 2014. Retrieved 28 April 2014.
    "Latest from the Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) in Ukraine based on information received until 18:00 hrs, 23 July" (Press release). Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe. 24 July 2014. Retrieved 25 July 2014.
  8. ^
  9. ^

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 50°00′16″N 36°14′00″E / 50.00444°N 36.23333°E / 50.00444; 36.23333