Heart shot

Kharkiv does not have many historical buildings and the city does not look like a cozy European town. However, Kharkiv has a painful and great history. It is a city with a wide soul, noisy avenues, sprawling areas and neat parks. This is a city where every inhabitant daily feels pain and anxiety for the fate of his home.

Pain and anxiety

On March 1, 2014, separatists tried to kick us out of the Kharkiv Regional State Administration building with bats, and in 2022, on the same day, Russian troops fired missiles. 

March 1

In 2014, during the beginning of the war in Ukraine, on March 1, at the initiative of the then mayor, a shameful rally was held for the creation of the Kharkiv People's Republic on the main square of the city. On the same day, the separatists seized the building of the Regional Administration and hung the flag of Russia, a state that rudely and vilely invaded Ukraine, trying to split it, encouraging the separation of regions and the creation of people's republics. 

In those days, the building of the Kharkiv Regional State Administration was liberated, recaptured, but in the end it was reclaimed and Kharkiv retained its position and remained Ukrainian. We have long remembered those events and every year we recalled how the city was preserved.

In 2022, also on March 1, the whole of Ukraine was shocked by the video, which recorded a powerful explosion in the Аdministration building – in the heart of Kharkiv. The enemy knew where to aim – he headquarters of the volunteers was located in the KhRSA building. Dozens of people died under the rubble.


The largest square in Europe

All residents know that Freedom Square is the largest square in Europe. The square, surrounded by majestic buildings, is headed by the example of the Stalinist Empire style – the building of the Regional State Administration, a symbol of power and strength. 

The building looks light and tall thanks to light bricks and columns. It was built in 1955 at a rapid pace. The building is crowned with traditional for the imperial style attributes of military glory – flags and coat of arms of the city. Authorities have always been located here.

But not all this makes the central square special and dear to Kharkiv residents. Now the square is not only a place for meetings, walks, seasonal fairs, events and concerts; our Freedom Square is a real field of freedom and will of Kharkiv citizens.

In 2004, the Orange Revolution took place on Freedom Square, a campaign of all-Ukrainian civil disobedience in response to the falsifications that affected the outcome of the presidential election. The culmination of the revolution was the appointment of the second round of presidential elections by the Supreme Court of Ukraine. 

Attempt on Kharkiv

In 2014, we defended Ukrainian Kharkiv on Freedom Square, and since then there has been a tent-symbol "Everything for Victory" in front of the KhRSA building. Rallies and patriotic gatherings are held around this tent. Later, we got rid of a huge monument to Lenin that "decorated" the square in front of the Administration building and built a park with fountains instead of the mention of a terrible Soviet occupation. Kharkiv is a city that boasts fountains and green parks and recreation areas. 

And now again the enemy, who not only fought vilely and disguisedly against our country for 8 years, but also carefully prepared for a large-scale attack, is trying to break the will of the Kharkiv citizens.

As if deliberately choosing March 1, the Russian army repeats the blood-curdling attempt on Kharkiv: surveillance camera shows the KhRSA building, an explosion in full screen, nothing is visible, then only fire and smoke…

The Internet is full of pictures of the consequences: the ruins of the building, the mutilated facade, the blockages, the collapsed floors… the number of dead. 


New city on the ruins of the old

Most likely, the building of the Regional State Administration cannot be restored, because the scale of destruction is huge. Probably, it will be possible to save a facade. 

One might think that let this Soviet building go into oblivion along with the monument to Lenin, as well as other legacies of the occupying Soviet power. For many, this is a shot in the heart.

Whatever it is, we, Kharkivites, are unbreakable. We are not afraid of shelling. Our will cannot be broken. It is impossible to change our resilience to the struggle.

We are our city, we are our authority. Regardless of the buildings, regardless of the destruction, regardless of the attacks of the Russian army. A NEW Kharkiv will be built on the ruins.

We will rebuild and restore everything, and we will prosper with renewed vigor.

Author: Mariia Kotenko, resident of Kharkiv (for Teamwise)

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