"Pompous" visual repair of cultural monuments is in full swing. The parade with marching cadets in shoes promises to be unforgettable. The development of the new Grand Emblem is actively raising the patriotic spirit.
But this is not enough. We need to create something very Ukrainian, something beautiful, but not too expensive so that there are fewer critics for waste during the pandemic. It is necessary for everyone to know what a fine fellow the president is.
As they say, all ingenious is simple. We need flags. It is desirable - higher and more. What can better illustrate the independence of Ukraine than 25-90-meter colossus? Moreover, it is possible to find the money for them - there is, after all, the "Big Construction" program. In addition, it is always an option to take advantage of the working scheme and shove the costs off to local authorities.
Apparently, this was exactly the logic of the president when he announced his new project.
Beauty knows no pain
The highest flagpoles were built at different times by Turkmenistan (133 m), Russia (160 m), Azerbaijan (165), Saudi Arabia (170). Ukraine is trying to align itself with these extremely conservative countries. But at the same time - to save and take not in height, but in quantity.
And although the costs will be less than they could have been, we are still talking about a decent amount 6,2 million USD, paid by taxpayers. If in Ivano-Frankivsk a 50-meter pole along with the installation was ordered for 128,000 USD, then Brovary allocated 80,000 USD for the flagpole, Kharkiv – 90,000 USD.
The number of contractors who install flagpoles are quite questionable. In Lviv, for example, most likely, the work will be carried out by a furniture manufacturing company. And some governors also used the project as an opportunity to curry favor, which even more devalued everything that happened.
The heads of the Sumy, Ternopil, Odesa, and Kherson regional state administrations, for example, said that the installation of the structure would cost without attracting budget funds (although local budgets are also formed at the expense of taxpayers). The payment for such generosity was special: in Sumy, for example, a ten-ton colossus was named after governor Khoma.
The project, however, did nothing to help Khoma himself stay on as governor. Recently, the Cabinet of Ministers approved his resignation.
It was decided to mount the structure near the "Sadko" fountain in Sumy. Permits for new construction were not initially issued, although they should have been available even before the development of drawings began. During the installation, the water supply and waterproofing of the fountain were damaged here, and the repair cost another 110,000 USD.
However, whether the flagpoles with their dimensions fit into the architectural ensemble of the surrounding buildings and structures or not, nobody really cares. In Poltava, for example, the "interfering" Lenin monument was simply demolished, completing the epic decommunization.
One can talk for a long time about dubious construction projects within the framework of the presidential project. But so far, only a few Zelensky's standard-bearers have been implemented.
Under the posts, reports on the construction of flagpoles - condemnation, and requests to allocate funds for higher priority needs. Some users on social networks suggest installing pump-rooms in the foundation of the flagpoles. Commentators are ironic: then hundreds of people will bow under them, and not express dissatisfaction.
This is not to say that such a reaction from citizens came as a surprise. The idea of erecting flagpoles encountered a wave of hate back in 2017, when the construction was announced in Kyiv. They wanted to allocate 1,8 million USD for the capital project. Citizens did not share the mayor's excitement, and several tenders did not come to their logical conclusion.
Only last year, mayor Klitschko managed to plant the highest flag near the statue of the Motherland. With one amendment. It was possible to reassure citizens only with information that the funds were received from a charitable foundation. The founders of the Future Kiev Foundation are the mayor of the capital and president of KAN Development Igor Nikonov. At one time, he even served as the first deputy of Klitschko.
Moreover, the development of the project itself was not ordered at all: even without it, quite specific technical inputs were indicated in the tender documentation for the construction. Everything indicates that the flagpole project was made in advance - such a big stake was placed on this PR project. The journalists did not manage to contact the authors of the documentation.
The order of documentation for the construction of flagpoles has not become more transparent this year. In Lviv, the son of the head of the department for the protection of the historical environment was engaged in its development. And in Brovary, it took 13 times more funds than the national average – 24,000 USD just for project documentation.
Ukraine will face such ideas more than once until the authorities realize the simple truth. It is not a huge flag that adds greatness to a country. You can endlessly try to absolutize your cultural characteristics, build as many cultural objects as you like, record-breaking in size, but this will only further expose the power inferiority complex that lies behind such decisions.
Patriotism cannot be fostered by speeches about national values and the construction of objects with national symbols if poverty and lawlessness are hushed up at the same time.
Thousands of people have been affected by the epidemic and are going into debt just to survive. If instead of paying additional payments to doctors, creating jobs, purchasing effective vaccines, repairing rotten communications, you allocate money for flagpoles - by doing this you ignore the real situation in the country, keep silent about your mistakes, and deceive people. And people, more than anything else, do not like to feel like fools.