A Red icon dismantled; history repeats at Tripura

A large crowd gathered in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv on September 2014 to watch the dismantling of a statue of Communist icon Vladimir Lenin. The largest statue of Lenin in Ukraine, and was pulled down by ropes in front of a triumphant crowd waving the Ukrainian flag and singing the national anthem. The event was one of many which started in Kiev in December 2013 during the pro-European protests. One protestor said Lenin, caused poverty in Ukraine and hopes for no memory of him in the city at all.

The landmark statue of Lenin located in the heart of Ukraine’s second largest city Kharkiv’s main square was toppled by the crowd in 2014. Image courtesy: news.kievukraine.info

“Lenin? Let him fall down. As long as nobody suffers under his weight. As long as this bloody Communist idol does not take more victims with it when it goes,” wrote Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov, who made his political career in Kharkiv, on his Facebook page

I ordered the police to protect the people and not the idol.” – The Washington Post reported it on September 29, 2014.

Ukraine has removed all 1,320 statues of the Communist revolutionary Lenin following a government move to rid the country of Soviet-era symbols. Monuments of Lenin have been dismantled in every town, village and city controlled by the Kiev-based government that brought down pro-Russian president Viktor Yanukovych. The anti-Soviet initiative, which also orders the renaming of streets and cities, was made law by President Petro Poroshenko in May 2015. Volodymyr Viatrovych, director of the Institute of National Remembrance, confirmed that every Lenin statue had been removed along with 1,069 other Soviet monuments as reported by Independent, August 20, 2017.

In May 2015, Kiev adopted decommunization legislation aimed at denouncing the Communist regime and outlawing Soviet symbols. The decommunization crusade requires that all facilities bearing the names of Soviet figures regardless of status be renamed. Also, anything mentioning Communism, Soviet power, or its institutions, is deemed illegal as well.

Statues of Vladimir Lenin erected in countries including Romania, Uzbekistan and Ethiopia, have been dismantled by people. Demolition workers in Bucharest pulled down a 30-foot statue of Lenin in March 1990. Two days after Ethiopia’s Communist dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam fled in a plane from Addis Ababa airport for refuge in Zimbabwe, the giant bronze statue of Lenin came down. It happened in May 1991. During the 1990s, after Moldova declared independence from the Soviet Union, several statues of Lenin were demolished.

After the historic fall of the Berlin Wall, Lenin and Marx’s statues became the target of public outrage. The first Mayor of reunited Berlin, Eberhard Diepgen, ordered its removal in late 1991, wanting to rid the city of an icon of a ‘dictatorship where people were persecuted and murdered’.

Giant head from Lenin statue – sculpted by Russian sculptor Nikolai Tomski – unearthed in Berlin. Image courtesy: cyprus-mail.com

The granite statue of Lenin designed by Russian sculptor Nikolai Tomski was split into 130 pieces two years after the 1989 fall of the Berlin Wall. Its demolition, depicted in the German blockbuster movie “Good-bye, Lenin!”, became a symbol of the end of East Germany and downfall of Communism in Europe. Twenty-four years later, the head of the giant statue of Lenin was dug up from the outskirts of Berlin on September 2015 to be displayed at an exhibition in the German capital.

Vladimir Ilich Ulyanov was Lenin’s original name. In the course of his encounter against the Tsarist regime, he adopted many pseudonyms, but Lenin clicked. In 1889 he adopted the orthodox Marxist line and developed his own brand of Marxism. Lenin heatedly defended the use of terror in party programmes. For him, the end justified the means. Lenin conceptualized proletarian state violence. Speaking to the All-Russian Central Executive Committee of the Soviets in November 1917, he declared that “the state is an institution built up for the sake of exercising violence”. Under Lenin, from July 1922, intellectuals deemed to be opposing the Bolshevik Government were exiled to inhospitable regions or deported from Russia. In May 1922, Lenin issued a decree calling for the execution of anti-Bolshevik priests, causing the death of nearly 20,000.

On January 25, 2016, Vladimir Putin denounced Lenin and his Bolshevik Government for their brutal repressions and accused him of having placed a ‘time bomb’ under the State. Putin denounced Lenin and his government for brutally executing Russia’s last Tsar along with all his family, killing thousands of priests and common people. He charged Lenin for placing a time bomb under the Russian State by drawing administrative borders along ethnic lines.

Numerous Buddhist temples and monasteries were looted and destroyed in Russia, China, Mongolia and Tibet by comrades of the Communist Party. Monks were butchered and deported. Wealth was looted and historical documents were either burnt or destroyed in these Buddhist temples and monasteries. The sympathy that did not arise towards these Buddhist sites in the past is now displayed at Tripura by Indian comrades and their bandwagons.

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