Good-by, Lenin!

The monster of the 20th Century came tumbling down in Kharkiv, a Ukrainian city that was the scene of calamitous tank battles between two of world history’s most evil empires.

lenin statue in Kharkiv

It was the biggest Lenin left in Europe. Now it’s rubble, kind of like the Evil Empire that Lenin presided over, an empire built on lies and murder, an Empire that replaced the too-slow liberalization of the Romanovs with “a boot stepping on a human face, forever.”

But it wasn’t forever, Vladimir Ilych.

When the monster tumbled, he was found to be a classically Soviet production: shoddy.

Lenin's head showing shoddy Soviet construction


Free Ukrainians tore the statue apart with their bare hands, taking pieces of Lenin for souvenirs, as Berliners did with the evil Wall that was, ultimately, part of the empire of slaveholding that Lenin and Stalin built.

We kind of wish we’d gotten a Lenin bust for the war room (or maybe as a garden gnome) before they were all gone. But it was, and is, past time for Lenin to join his peer Hitler among the reviled and de-monumented.

Next summer, the kids will go to movies in which spandex-suited heroes fight supernatural monsters. But this ruins of a Lenin is a reminder that monsters are real, they are not supernatural, and they walk among us. But they can be toppled by men and women in street clothes — everyday heroes.


4 thoughts on “Good-by, Lenin!

  1. TRX

    I watched a re-run of “The Omega Man” about a decade ago. I saw the original in the theater when it came out… anyway, I always liked the scene where Charlton Heston uses a bust of Beethoven for a hat rack. I decided I wanted a bust of Lenin for that purpose.

    I called up an acquaintance that made regular trips to Russia as part of some kind of arms inspection deal and asked him. “Sure, those are all over the place for a few rubles. How many do you want?” I told him one would do, agreed to an upper price limit, and waited for him to make another trip.

    Eventually he came back with a Lenin bust… except it’s about three inches tall. He claimed he’d looked everywhere and the big ones were nowhere to be found. The little one is sitting by the cable modem right now.

    The interesting thing is, whoever made this one went from “stylized” to something that looks downright Vulcan; nobody who has seen it has correctly identified it. That’s when I tell them it’s Alan Turing, which gets me a further blank look, but at least I get some amusement out of it.

  2. TRX

    So I’m thinking, “Eh, eBay!” and go clicking off. Lots of stuff shipped directly from the RF or Ukraine, more expensive than I’m interested in. A couple of pages in, holy moley, a Soviet-era bust of Leon Trotsky! In fact, a number of statues.

    The Soviets unpersoned Trotsky as a heretic, he fled the country, and whatever the Cheka was called that month hunted him down in Mexico and assassinated him in 1940.

    Given how Trotsky was vilified by the Party, I have some doubt that all of the busts on eBay are real Soviet-era products. Somehow, I think having a Trotsky in your apartment would have led people to think you were politically unreliable not something you’d want during the Terror or Great Patriotic War.

  3. Bill K

    Speaking of gnomes, perhaps you’ve seen those decorative bears meant for entryways that have one paw lifted up. And on it’s sole is a squashed gnome. The sign at the bottom reads, “Wipe your paws.”

    It would be quite the discussion-piece to have a Russian bear, with a squashed Lenin instead.