In 1834, the Russian Empire deprived Kyiv of the Magdeburg Rights and established a new system of city self-government ruled by the City Duma. Even though a lion’s share of powers at that time was concentrated in the hands of the imperial protégés, the newly created authority was very important in the development of Kyiv.
In 1874–1878, a luxurious building with a tower and a statute of the city’s patron, Archangel Michael, crowning the spire was built for the City Council on the site of the modern Independence Square. Apart from rooms for the City Administration and the session hall, there were also shops, Mykola Murashko’s art school, and night medical duty point, the first in Europe and the only one in Russia for long.
The Duma had operated as an authority until 1919. At the same time, with the advent of the Bolsheviks, the building was occupied by various administrative structures, and the figure of Archangel Michael was replaced with a red star.
The building of the City Duma could have survived until present time and become a decoration of the capital’s centre, because it managed to withstand the explosions on Khreshchatyk. Yet the Soviet authorities have been notorious for their awe-inspiring attitude towards the architectural and cultural heritage of their peoples and destroyed the building in early November 1941. Moreover, they accused civilians of arson, having shot 300 innocent Kyivites. The history of the City Duma building is another evidence of the bloodthirsty policy that Russians and their ancestors used against Ukrainians for centuries and continue to do so nowadays.
Informational support was provided by the management and scientists of the Museum of the History of Kyiv, primarily by the head of the “Kyiv of the late 17th–early 20th century” Department, Olha Druh.