LGBT+ activists in Kyiv use drones to transform an old, controversial Soviet monument into a powerful symbol of equality
Creative LGBT+ activists in Ukraine’s capital city Kyiv have used drones to vastly improve a Soviet-era monument.
Like Pride parades around the world, the annual Kyiv Pride march – which has previously drawn violent far-right counter-protesters – has been cancelled in 2020 due to coronavirus.
With LGBT+ people prevented from marching through the streets, on Sunday activists from Kyiv Pride decided to do the next best thing – and take to the skies of the city instead.
LGBT+ activists used a drone to give an old Kyiv statute new meaning.
The enterprising activists used a drone to carry a giant rainbow flag to the top of the controversial Motherland Monument – a large steel statue of a symbolic mother holding a sword and shield, erected in 1981 as part of a Soviet Union propaganda blitz.
The drone was manoeuvred in front of sword, giving the impression that the mother is in fact waving a rainbow flag above the city.
Kyiv Pride shared the video on Facebook with the hashtag #momwillunderstandandsupport, adding: “Mother for equality for everyone!”
One supporter wrote: “The message is beautiful – the mother will always protect.”
Of course, plenty of homophobes flooded the group’s social media in response to the stunt, branding LGBT+ people “degenerates” and calling for the activists to be arrested for “degrading” the monument.
However, others rose to defend it, arguing: “How is a symbol under which millions of people were repressed and murdered less disgusting than a flag under which people are fighting for their rights?”
As well as flying atop the statue, the drone also flew the rainbow flag high above Kyiv, with the group teasing: “Throughout the day, don’t forget to look up! We will delight you with messages in the most unpredictable places.”
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Dronarium Ukraine, which supplied and piloted the drones for the protest, clarified that the flights were carried out safely and in full compliance with drone flight regulations, and that its pilots have “hundreds of hours” of experience with drones carrying flags.
The company stressed that it opposes discrimination against the LGBT+ community, and also raised objections to the controversial Soviet monument – condemning “the coat of arms of a dead colossus on the monument in the centre of the capital of a European state”.
Kyiv Pride take celebrations online during coronavirus pandmeic.
The stunt coincided with a virtual Pride celebration in the city, which saw participants fill a map with rainbows and positive messages.
Kyiv Pride encouraged supporters to do their best to celebrate Pride from the safety of their home and away from large crowds, explaining: “We will stay home and participate in online activity only.”
LGBT+ people have few legal rights in Ukraine.
The country has passed some basic gender recognition laws and discrimination protections as it seeks to align with EU law, but there is no recognition for same-sex relationships, and gay couples are banned from getting married or adopting children.