Monday, March 08, 2010

Vandalism To Some, To Others A Call for Change

KIEV, Ukraine -- It’s been over two decades since the fall of communism in Russia, but statues of Lenin and other Soviet-era icons still stand across the country—enduring symbols that the break from a communist past may not be entirely a fait accompli.

A monument of Soviet Union founder Vladimir Lenin is seen under repair in St. Petersburg on March 2. An explosion was set off on April 1, 2009, that damaged one of the last Soviet-era monuments of the former Communist leader. In the past year, Lenin statues across Ukraine and Russia have been doused in paint. Some call these are acts of delinquency, while others see them as acts of discontent with the countries' current leadership and the prominent display of Soviet monuments.

Recently, there have been growing incidences of vandalism against these Soviet monuments.

While some have discounted it as nothing more than delinquency, for many in Russia and Ukraine, it has become a way for a restive public to show discontent with the country’s current leadership.

“If in the country there are statues of those people who have taken part in genocide or the other crimes, that is not normal,” said Igor Lisodid, head of the De-communization Committee in Ukraine.

He thinks that it is a good sign because society wants to break away from its past.

“The more we distance ourselves from communism and people understand that it is awful, the more there will be those who want to eliminate such monuments,” he said.

There have been many incidents over the past year in post-Soviet Union countries of people attempting to destroy the communist idols.

In April 2009, an explosion damaged a statue of Lenin, located at the Finland Rail Terminal in St. Petersburg. The explosion made about a one meter (39 in.) hole in the bottom of the ten meter bronze figure of Lenin.

Half a year later, on Nov. 6, 2009, an unidentified person doused the Lenin monument in a park in the city of Kaliningrad in orange paint. The following day, in Novogrudka, Belarus, a statue of the former supreme ruler got similar treatment this time in green.

Sympathizers with those who committed the act say that the presence of "communist idols" is a disgrace to the country.

A couple of weeks later, police in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev, detained two people for pouring red paint over a recently restored statue of Lenin.

Representatives of the All-Ukrainian Union “Freedom” and the De-communization Committee poured paint on the Lenin monument while protesting its unveiling.

Nationalists then threw a bottle with white paint at the monument, but missed their target. The demonstration ended with Kiev police detaining two people.

Source: Epoch Times

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