Celebration of the 1500th anniversary of Kyiv

Article

August 8, 2022

Celebrations of the 1500th anniversary of Kyiv are solemn nationwide events held under the auspices of UNESCO in Kyiv in 1982 on the occasion of the 1500th anniversary of the tentative date of the city's founding. The anniversary celebration started the tradition of celebrating Kyiv Day.

Initiators of the celebration

There was talk of celebrating the anniversary in the second half of the 1970s. A similar initiative, which captured the leadership of the republic, came from the former deputy chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Ukrainian SSR, historian, academician Petro Tronka. At the same time, according to the then head of the Kyiv City Executive Committee Valenty Zgurskyi, it was he who proposed the celebration. An important role in the preparation for the holiday was played by the then Kermanich republics — First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Ukraine Volodymyr Shcherbytskyi and Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Ukrainian SSR Oleksandr Lyashko.

Date determination

The celebration of the anniversary was inspired by the discovery of a source in the Armenian repository of ancient manuscripts of Matenadaran, which probably mentions Kyiv already in the 5th century BC. The prepared package of relevant documents was sent for consideration by the United Nations Organization for Education, Science and Culture. However, its head Amadou-Makhtar M'Bou said that UNESCO celebrates the anniversaries of states and capitals, not individual cities. And Ukraine at that time was not yet an independent state. Then the Ukrainians proposed to celebrate the anniversary of the formation of Kyivan Rus and its capital, Kyiv. At the same time, European experts categorically refused to accept the date given by the Kyivans. In the course of critical speeches, the age of Kyiv was gradually reduced from 2,500 to 1,500 years. According to Valentyn Zgurskyi, the president of the Academy of Sciences of the Ukrainian SSR, Boris Paton, who was also at the meeting, advised him to agree immediately so that "a few more hundred years" would not be cut off. Harvard University professor Omelyan Pritsak expressed his doubts about the correctness of the date determination. He denied the claim that Kyiv could have been founded in 482, and also drew attention to the ideological and political involvement of the holiday. Instead, the scientist called to focus on the celebration of a more important anniversary — the millennium of the baptism of Ukraine. In addition, in his opinion, the celebration of a loud anniversary should divert the attention of Ukrainians from another, tragic anniversary