Relics of the Soviet era remain in Russia

Although the Soviet Union doesn't exist any more, one can witness a lot of the Soviet relics  throughout all Russia such as Lenin's monuments. Source: Grigory Kubatian

Although the Soviet Union doesn't exist any more, one can witness a lot of the Soviet relics throughout all Russia such as Lenin's monuments. Source: Grigory Kubatian

Communism is dead, but Vladimir Lenin lives in the more than 6,000 statues and monuments dedicated to him all over Russia.

More than 6,000 stone, concrete and bronze monuments to Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin were erected in the 20th century. One of them stands at the defunct Pole of Inaccessibility Antarctic station. During the Soviet era, these statues of the great revolutionary were among key propaganda instruments for the socialist regime.  The monuments to the founder of the Soviet state were always placed “at the request of the working people” in public places, where these working people gathered – in central squares, in parks, in factories and organisations. Times have changed but the monuments are still there - and most of the festivities and rallies in Russia take place under the gaze of Lenin’s narrowed eyes. Or his pointing finger. 

Most statues of Lenin feature the leader pointing in various directions. This feature has inspired many jokes. One monument pointed at a prison and another one directed people to a mental home and several in Moscow are said to point the way to McDonalds. 

Source: Grigory Kubatian

Yet Lenin monuments are not just a remnant of the Soviet era or a part of Russia’s cultural heritage. For many people, they are a symbol of the social catastrophe that hit the country, the revolutions and the civil war that killed millions of Russians. Some opposition leaders have argued that the Lenin monument should be demolished, and since the late 1980s, an undeclared war has been waged against Lenin statues. Many have been broken or blasted, covered in paint and sold as scrap metal. And yet, almost two-thirds of the Russian population admit to positive feelings towards Lenin’s role in history. In many places it is a tradition for newly married couples to lay flowers at the feet of Lenin monuments. More than 90 percent of the monuments are no longer protected by the state and are currently maintained by local communist and veteran organizations, which try to restore them.

Some Lenin statues have recently become objets d’arts: in Ulan-Ude, they made a giant fur hat with earflaps for the enormous Lenin head standing on a pedestal. In Krasnoyarsk, they used lasers to clothe Lenin in ninja turtle and Batman costumes during the Day of Museums. One might say it is a way to mock the chief, putting a wig or a mask on a monument. There are some, however, like workers in Saratov workers, who continue to esteem the leader of the proletarian revolution. During a monument restoration project, a bottle of vodka was discovered inside the concrete pedestal, left by a previous generation of restorers. After emptying the bottle, the workers bought a new one and put it back into the pedestal for new generations, adding a solemn address to it.

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