Vladimir Lenin monument, Kyiv

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Monument to Lenin in Kyiv still standing in 2007

The Vladimir Lenin monument in Kyiv was a statue dedicated to Vladimir Lenin, the founder of the Soviet Union in Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine. The larger than life-size (3.45 meters [11.32 feet]) Lenin monument was built by Soviet sculptor Sergey Merkurov from the same red Karelian stone as Lenin's Mausoleum. It was displayed at the 1939 New York World's Fair and erected on Kyiv's main Khreshchatyk Street (at the intersection of Shevchenko Boulevard, opposite the Bessarabsky Market) on 5 December 1946.

The statue was violently toppled from its pedestal and crushed by an angry mob on 8 December 2013, as part of the Euromaidan events, when many other Soviet statues were toppled. The plinth remains in place,[1] and has become at times a site of political artwork, and arguments.[2] Since 2016 various sculptures or installations have been exhibitioned in front of the plinth.[1]

Since 2015 (all) monuments connected with communist themes and/or persons are illegal in Ukraine.[3]

Post-Soviet period[edit]

According to the decree of the former President of Ukraine, Viktor Yushchenko, this monument of the Soviet Union and the associated Communist period should have been removed after Ukraine gained independence.[4] Nevertheless, due to the resistance of the Communist Party of Ukraine, whose members were elected to Verhovna Rada, the last Kyiv monument to Lenin was left standing.

Since the fall of Soviet rule, the monument survived numerous vandalizing attempts which led to both increased policing of the area and frequent vigilance by Communist activists.

Demolition[edit]

Demonstrators on the plinth of the statue after it was toppled

On 1 December 2013 a group of masked men attempted to topple the statue during the surge of the Euromaidan protests. Police immediately reacted by deploying a small Berkut riot police unit which was attacked, overwhelmed and forced to flee. Euromaidan leaders immediately denounced both the monument attempt and the clash with police as an action of unaffiliated "provocateurs".

Subsequently, on 8 December 2013, several Ukrainian individuals subsequently claimed to be affiliated with the Svoboda political party[5] toppled the statue, as Kyiv police silently looked on. The statue then broke from impact with the ground.[6]

After the fall of the Lenin statue the crowd began to sing the national anthem of Ukraine. Later, pieces of the monument were picked up by protesters as souvenirs.[7][8]

Response[edit]

The removal or destruction of Lenin monuments and statues gained particular momentum after the destruction of the Kyiv Lenin statue. Under the motto "Ленінопад" (Leninopad, translated into English as "Leninfall"), activists pulled down a dozen communist monuments in the Kyiv region, Zhytomyr, Khmelnytskyi, and elsewhere, or damaged them during the course of the EuroMaidan protests into spring of 2014.[9] In other cities and towns, monuments were removed by organised heavy equipment and transported to scrapyards or dumps.[10][11]

Political response[edit]

A member of the Ukrainian parliament from the party UDAR, Valeriy Karpuntsov, announced that Ukrainian police had started arrests of people present in the area during the fall of the last monument to Lenin in Kyiv.[12]

The governor of Kharkiv Oblast, Mykhailo Dobkin, tweeted on 8 December 2013 about starting a crowdfunding campaign to restore the monument: "Tomorrow I will open the account for restoration of the monument to Lenin in Kyiv… Everybody, who hates Hutsuls for their stupidity, join".[13] He stated that he would allocate the sum of 100,000 hryvnias for the restoration of the monument.[13]

Public opinion[edit]

Most residents of Kyiv (69%) had a negative attitude to the removal of Lenin's monument during the mass protest actions, while 13% had a positive attitude and 15% remained indifferent.[14]

Notable figures[edit]

  • Singer Ruslana (one of the leading figures of the protests[15][16][17]) was critical of the event, saying, "We do not need any barbaric actions. We condemn acts of vandalism, savagery, violence and anything that can divide and split Ukraine [...] doubling monuments and calls for aggression is nothing but a movement in the opposite direction of European integration and humane society."[18]

Site of the former monument since its toppling[edit]

On 15 May 2015, President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko signed a bill into law that started a six-month period for the removal of all communist themed monuments in Ukraine.[3]

Although the statue has been removed, the monument's plinth has remained in place.[1] This plinth has become at times a site of political artwork, and arguments.[2] Since 2016 various sculptures or installations have been exhibitioned in front of the plinth.[1]

Gallery[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d (in Ukrainian) A new sculpture was erected on the site of the monument to Lenin in Kyiv. Ukrayinska Pravda. 30 October 2019
    (in Ukrainian) In the center of Kyiv installed a new sculpture, Ukrainians are not thrilled: "Shackles of power united by a layer". ZNAJ.UA. 30 October 2019
  2. ^ a b "Mannequins placed in Lenin's old spot". 13 February 2014. Archived from the original on 1 December 2008. Retrieved 5 April 2014.
  3. ^ a b (in Ukrainian) Poroshenko signed the laws about decomunization. Ukrayinska Pravda. 15 May 2015
    Poroshenko signs laws on denouncing Communist, Nazi regimes, Interfax-Ukraine. 15 May 20
    Goodbye, Lenin: Ukraine moves to ban communist symbols, BBC News (14 April 2015)
  4. ^ Про заходи у зв'язку з 75-ми роковинами Голодомору 1932 – 1933 років в Україні Archived 28 January 2014 at the Wayback Machine decree of the President of Ukraine № 250/2007
  5. ^ "Svoboda assumes responsibility for pulling down Lenin monument in Kyiv". ZIK. 8 December 2013. Archived from the original on 12 December 2013. Retrieved 2 January 2014.
  6. ^ "Lenin statue toppled in Ukraine protest". CNN. 8 December 2013. Archived from the original on 8 December 2013. Retrieved 14 March 2014.
  7. ^ Slade Sohmer (8 December 2013). "Full Video of Protesters In Kyiv Toppling, Decapitating Lenin Statue". Archived from the original on 12 December 2013. Retrieved 8 December 2013.
  8. ^ "Protesters rid Kyiv of Lenin statue". Kyiv Post. 8 December 2013. Archived from the original on 9 December 2013. Retrieved 5 April 2014.
  9. ^ Ленінопад триває: вождя скинули в Каневі, Миколаєві, Херсоні (in Ukrainian). TSN. 22 February 2014. Archived from the original on 23 February 2014. Retrieved 5 April 2014.
  10. ^ Sofia Sereda (9 January 2014). В Україні – Ленінопад: пам'ятники вождю падають один за одним [In Ukraine – Leninopad: Monuments to the leader fall one by one] (in Ukrainian). Archived from the original on 22 February 2014. Retrieved 3 March 2014.
  11. ^ iaryna. "Good Bye Lenin! Десовєтизація України. Кінець 2013 – початок 2014 років" [Good Bye Lenin! Desovietization of Ukraine. End of 2013 – beginning of 2014] (in Ukrainian). Archived from the original on 1 April 2014. Retrieved 1 April 2014.
  12. ^ Міліція вже почала затримувати людей за повалення пам'ятника Леніну – УДАР [Police has started arrests of innocent people for putting down the monument of Lenin]. Ukrayinska Pravda (in Ukrainian). 9 December 2013. Archived from the original on 14 December 2013. Retrieved 9 December 2013.
  13. ^ a b "Dobkin despises Guzuls and is collecting money for the new monument to Lenin in Kiev". Nah News. 9 December 2013. Archived from the original on 2 January 2014. Retrieved 2 January 2014.
  14. ^ "PRESS-RELEASE "ATTITUDE OF RESIDENTS OF Kyiv TO REMOVAL OF LENIN'S MONUMENT" In the period from 10 to 14 of December 2013 the company Research & Branding Group" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 29 December 2013. Retrieved 5 April 2014.
  15. ^ Daryna Shevchenko (29 November 2013). "Musicians liven up EuroMaidan". Kyiv Post. Archived from the original on 29 November 2013. Retrieved 4 February 2016.
  16. ^ "Bershidsky on Europe: Swiss Reject Pay Cap". Bloomberg. 25 November 2013. Retrieved 25 November 2013. Yet the Euromaidan, as the protest campaign is known, is serious enough to give President Viktor Yanukovych a serious scare.
  17. ^ "Євромайдан" вимагає скасування рішення уряду про відмову від євроінтеграції (in Ukrainian). Voice of America: Ukrainian. Archived from the original on 3 December 2013. Retrieved 25 November 2013.
  18. ^ Ruslana. Ми не хочемо, щоб Творча Революція перетворилася у погроми... (in Ukrainian). Archived from the original on 14 December 2013. Retrieved 10 December 2013.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 50°26′33″N 30°31′10″E / 50.4425°N 30.5194°E / 50.4425; 30.5194