Activists: Next steps to save Sikorsky House: working group at the Ministry of Defense and open competition for the reconstruction


Kyiv, June 22, 2016. The house of the world famous aircraft designer Igor Sikorsky has been returned to the ownership of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine. Now, it is necessary to announce an open competition for its renovation. The Ministry of Defense has to set up a special working group involving representatives of the Ministry, the public, SE “Hotel “Kozatskiy”(the house is funded by SE “Hotel “Kozatskiy” of Defense Ministry – Ed. UCMC) and potential investors. As explained by public activists Anastasia Shymchuk, member of the political party “Democratic Alliance,” and Ivan Filipovych, representative for the union “Sikorsky House,” at a press briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center. “It must be a broad group – so that all interested proactive citizens who want to defend Kyiv’s historical heritage can join in,” emphasized Anastasia Shymchuk.

On June 21, Kyiv Appellate Commercial Court terminated the lease on Sikorsky House at Yaroslaviv Val, 15-b with the Charity Fund of MP Nestor Shufrych. 16 years ago the building was leased for 49 years on condition that it would be restored and turned into a museum of aviation history, but no work had been performed. “It seems they wanted to bring it to ruin and ultimately get a free plot of land in the center of Kyiv,” stated Mr. Filipovych. The Ministry of Defense had asked the court to terminate the contract, and they won the verdict in December 2015 . However, over the previous six months an appeal was considered, and the claimant also won. According to Ms. Shymchuk, the Fund’s lawyers will not submit another appeal, so now we can say that the MoD and the public have won.

According to the activists, the restored house will become a municipal museum, maintained by both the MoD and the public. “There are many examples in the world when there is a municipal museum and a group of its friends attract funds for its maintenance. The same can be done in Kyiv – the museum will belong to the Defense Ministry, but the public will bring in funds,” noted Mr. Filipovych.

At this stage, the main task is to find an investor for the reconstruction. The cost of work is still unknown. “If the Ministry of Defense and the public demonstrate concerted action, we can return to the talks with Sikorsky’s descendants who now live in the US,” said Ms. Shymchuk. However, the current situation is not yet clear. The Sikorsky House is part of the property complex of Hotel “Kozatskiy” which is also locked in a lawsuit. “There is a danger that it (Sikorsky House – Ed. UCMC) will be taken away along with Hotel “Kozatskiy”,” explained Mr. Filipovych. Given this factor, it is important that the topic should be made aware to the public. “If the then Deputy Defense Minister Gusev had not reacted and the topic had not become public, the Court of Appeals would have issued a decision that would have been in favor of the renter,” noted Mr. Filipovych. “We need public and media awareness, otherwise we really can lose Sikorsky House,” underlined Ms. Shymchuk.