Demolition of monuments to Vladimir Lenin in Ukraine

Clockwise from top left:

The demolition of monuments to Vladimir Lenin in Ukraine started during the fall of the Soviet Union. During Euromaidan it has become a widespread phenomenon and dubbed by Ukrainians Leninopad (Ленінопад), a pun literally translated as "Leninfall",[1] with the coinage of "-пад" being akin to English words suffixed with "fall" as in "waterfall", "snowfall", etc.


The demolition of Lenin monuments in Ukraine happened in four stages. During the 1990s, more than 2,000 Lenin monuments were demolished in Galicia and Volyn, at the turn of the 1990–2000s more than 600 Lenin monuments were removed in western and central areas, in 2005–2008, more than 600 were demolished mainly in central areas, and in 2013–2014, 552 monuments were demolished.[2]

The first wave of demolitions of Lenin monuments happened in Western Ukraine in 1990–1991. On 1 August 1990, in Chervonohrad a Lenin monument was demolished for the first time in the USSR.[3] Under popular pressure the monument was dismantled, formally with the purpose of moving elsewhere. That same year, Lenin monuments were dismantled in Ternopil, Kolomyia, Nadvirna, Borislav, Drohobych, Lviv and other cities of Galicia.[4]

In 1991, Ukraine had 5,500 Lenin monuments.[5] As of November 2015, approximately 1,300 Lenin monuments were still standing.[5] More than 700 Lenin monuments were removed and/or destroyed between February 2014 and December 2015.[5]

On 15 May 2015, President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko signed a bill into law that started a six-month period for the removal of communist monuments (excluding World War II monuments) and the mandatory renaming of settlements with names related to Communism.[6] On 16 January 2017, the Ukrainian Institute of National Remembrance announced that 1,320 Lenin monuments were dismantled during decommunization.[7] Two Lenin statues in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone are the only two remaining statues of Lenin in Ukraine.[8]

A website "Raining Lenins"[9] tracks the statistics of the fall of Lenin statues in Ukraine.[4]

On 17 March 2016, the largest Lenin monument at the unoccupied territory of Ukraine, 19.8 meters high, was dismantled in Zaporizhia.[10] In between the annexation of the Crimean Peninsula by the Russian Federation and 28 September 2014, the largest Lenin monument at the unoccupied territory was standing in Kharkiv (20.2 m high).[11][12] This statue of Lenin in Kharkiv was toppled and destroyed on 28 September 2014.[13]


The start of the "Leninopad" in its mass was laid by the demolition of the Lenin monument in Kyiv on the Bessarabian Square. The event took place on 8 December 2013 at around 6:00 pm. Even more people began to massively destroy monuments of the Soviet past after reported about numbers of Euromaidan activists who died during the power struggles in Kyiv.

In fact, several protesters claim that they are "depriving their settlements as the symbol of totalitarianism, Russian supremacy and opening the way for a new Ukraine." The police, for their part, have not launched criminal proceedings on the fact of hooliganism and vandalism.

Communist monuments toppled during Euromaidan

Euromaidan protesters toppled several statues of Vladimir Lenin in Ukrainian cities.[14][15][16] Some estimates said that more than 90 statues were toppled.[17] In December 2015, The Ukrainian Week calculated that 376 Lenin monuments were removed or destroyed in February 2014.[5]

This is a partial list:

Statue of LeninAndrievo-Ivanove3 January 2014Broken in twoPolice launched an investigation based on a Criminal Code article entitled "Destruction of, or Damage to, Monuments of History or Culture".[18]
Statue of LeninBerdychiv22 February 2014Toppled and destroyed[19][20]
Statue of LeninBila TserkvaToppled and destroyed[14][21]
Statue of LeninChernihiv21 February 2014Toppled[22][23]
Statue of LeninChervona Sloboda8 July 2014ToppledAccording to the Ukrainian Communist Party "a criminal case has been opened over the act of vandalism".[24][25]
Statue of LeninKharkiv28 September 2014Toppled and destroyed
Statue of LeninKhmelnitsky21 February 2014Toppled[14][21][26]
Statue of LeninKyiv8 December 2013Toppled and destroyed[15]
Statue of LeninKorosten5 October 2014Toppled
Statue of LeninKotovsk8 December 2013Broken into several pieces[18]
Statue of LeninMelitopol5 July 2015Dismantled by the City Council
Statue of LeninZhytomyr21 February 2014Toppled and destroyed[14][21][27]



The removal of the monuments evoked mixed feelings among the Ukrainian population.[28] In some cases, like in Kharkiv in early 2014,[29] pro-Russian Ukrainian crowds protected the monuments, including members of the communist and socialist parties, as well as veterans of World War II and the Afghan wars.[30] The Statue of Lenin in Kharkiv was toppled on 28 September 2014.[13] Late October 2014, then Kharkiv Governor Ihor Baluta admitted that he thought that the majority of Kharkiv residents had not wanted the statue removed, but said "there was hardly any protest afterward either, which is quite telling".[31]

In January 2015, the Ministry of Culture of Ukraine announced that it would encourage any public initiatives related to the cleansing of Ukraine from monuments to figures of the communist past. According to Vyacheslav Kyrylenko, its department will initiate the removal from the State Register of Immovable Monuments of Ukraine and all the monuments mentioned there, related to communist figures.[32]

In April 2015, the Verkhovna Rada voted in favor of the draft law "On Condemnation of Communist and National Socialist (Nazi) Totalitarian Regimes in Ukraine and Prohibition of Propaganda and Symbols", which will oblige local authorities to dismantle monuments to communist figures in Ukraine.


According to Blue Shield National Committee,[33] some of the monuments might be listed as national heritage sites, and therefore their dismantling requires checking if they were actually listed as such.[34]

See also


  1. Shebelist, Serhii (30 September 2013). ""Leninfall" – The lack of adequate commemoration policy in Ukraine provokes the new tide of the "war of monuments"". Retrieved 9 June 2016.
  2. Від ленінізму до ленінопаду. Радіо Свобода (in Ukrainian). Retrieved 17 May 2017.
  3. (in Ukrainian) The first Lenin fell in 1990: how the idol of communism was dropped, (8 December 2018)
  4. Volodymyr Semkiv, "Падай, Леніне, падай" ("Fall, Lenin, Fall", retrieved 9 June 2017)
  5. Out of Sight, The Ukrainian Week (28 December 2015)
  6. Poroshenko signed the laws about decomunization. Ukrayinska Pravda. 15 May 2015
    Poroshenko signs laws on denouncing Communist, Nazi regimes, Interfax-Ukraine. 15 May 20
    Poroshenko: Time for Ukraine to resolutely get rid of Communist symbols, UNIAN. 17 May 2015
    Goodbye, Lenin: Ukraine moves to ban communist symbols, BBC News (14 April 2015)
  7. (in Ukrainian) Dekomunizuvaly monuments to Lenin in 1320, Bandera set 4, Ukrayinska Pravda (16 January 2017)
    (in Ukrainian) WITH 50 THOUSAND RENAMED OBJECTS PLACE NAMES, ONLY 34 ARE NAMED AFTER BANDERA, Ukrainian Institute of National Remembrance (16 January 2017)
  8. Revisiting Chernobyl: 'It is a huge cemetery of dreams', The Guardian (28 February 2019)
  9. ""Raining Lenins"". Archived from the original on 20 August 2016. Retrieved 10 June 2016.
  10. "В ЗАПОРІЖЖІ НАРЕШТІ ЗНЕСЛИ НАЙБІЛЬШОГО ЛЕНІНА. Фото". Історична правда. Retrieved 29 June 2020.
  11. "Харків повалив Леніна офіційно. Провокаторів попередили: до пам'ятника – зась". Українська правда (in Ukrainian). Retrieved 29 June 2020.
  12. "В Харкові звалили найбільший в Україні пам'ятник Леніну (фото, відео)". (in Ukrainian). Retrieved 29 June 2020.
  13. "Ukraine nationalists tear down Kharkiv's Lenin statue". BBC News. 28 September 2014. Retrieved 22 April 2015.
  14. "Ukraine crisis: Lenin statues toppled in protest". BBC. 22 February 2014. Retrieved 21 April 2015.
  15. "Leninopad, Ukraine's Falling Lenin Statues, Celebrated As Soviet Symbols Toppled Nationwide (VIDEOS, PHOTOS)". Huffington Post. 24 February 2014. Retrieved 21 April 2015.
  16. Софія Середа (9 January 2014). "В Україні – Ленінопад: пам'ятники вождю падають один за одним". Retrieved 3 March 2014.
  17. Ленінопад: від комуністичного вождя звільнено вже 90 міст України, Expres, 24 February 2014, retrieved 21 April 2015
  18. "Police: One more Lenin statue broken in Odesa region". Kyiv Post. 4 January 2014. Retrieved 22 April 2015.
  19. Ukraine crisis – Another monument of Lenin toppled in the city of Berdichev on YouTube
  20. "Lenin Monumenet in Berdichev (Zhytomyr Oblast) – 22/02/2014". Raining Lenins. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 22 April 2015.
  21. Raw: Lenin Statues Toppled Across Ukraine on YouTube
  22. ""Leninopad" continues – monuments dismantled in Dnipropetrovsk, Poltava and Chernihiv". Ukrayinska Pravda. 22 February 2014.
  23. The monument of Lenin in Chernigov has fallen on YouTube
  24. "Another Lenin monument removed near Ukraine's Sumy". Interfax Ukraine. 8 July 2014. Retrieved 22 April 2015.
  25. "Lenin Monument in Chervona Sloboda (Sumi Oblast) – 08/07/2014". Raining Lenins. 8 July 2014.
  26. Statue toppled in 21 February 2014 on YouTube
  27. Statue toppled in 21 February 2014 on YouTube
  28. "Toppling of Lenin monument in Kyiv evokes mixed feelings". Kyiv Post. 10 December 2013. Retrieved 22 April 2015.
  29. Ukraine: Kharkiv residents defend Lenin monument on Fatherland Day on YouTube
  30. "Crowd defends Lenin statue in eastern Ukraine city". BBC. 23 February 2014. Retrieved 21 April 2015.
  31. "Ukraine's Second City, Kharkiv, Eludes Rebel Hands". Bloomberg BusinessWeek. 23 October 2014. Retrieved 24 October 2014.
  32. "Урядовий портал :: Демонтаж пам'яток радянським діячам буде підтримано на офіційному рівні, - В'ячеслав Кириленко". Retrieved 27 July 2020.
  33. "Blue Shield Position Statement about Ukraine".
  34. "Ukraine says 'Goodbye Lenin'". Archived from the original on 6 August 2016. Retrieved 5 June 2016.