Kyivans gather in Shevchenko Park on March 9 to celebrate the 203rd anniversary of the birth of Taras Shevchenko (1814-1861), Ukraine’s most praised poet, whose life and legacy are especially valued for the spirit of freedom that he put in his poems. The attendees read his poems and took pictures with a monument that could be found online by a hashtag #GlobalShevchenko. Pictures with Shevchenko’s monuments worldwide could be found online by this hashtag. There are at least 128 monuments to Shevchenko outside Ukraine, installed in 35 countries.
Shevchenko lived only 47 years. The first 24 years he spent as a serf and last 10 years he lived in exile, punished by Russian emperor Nicholas I for participating in a secret political organization. While all his poetry featured his native land, Shevchenko spent only some 2.5 years of his mature life in his native Ukraine. He left the country, then a part of Russian Empire, in the age of 15 years, according to Vadym Skurativskiy, one of the most famous Shevchenko researcher. His life passed in St. Petersburg, Moscow, Lithuania and Kazakhstan.