Demolition of monuments to Vladimir Lenin in Ukraine
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", 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.
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. 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.
In 1991, Ukraine had 5,500 Lenin monuments. As of November 2015, approximately 1,300 Lenin monuments were still standing. More than 700 Lenin monuments were removed and/or destroyed between February 2014 and December 2015.
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. On 16 January 2017, the Ukrainian Institute of National Remembrance announced that 1,320 Lenin monuments were dismantled during decommunization. Two Lenin statues in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone are the only two remaining statues of Lenin in Ukraine.
On 17 March 2016, the largest Lenin monument at the unoccupied territory of Ukraine, 19.8 meters high, was dismantled in Zaporizhia. 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). This statue of Lenin in Kharkiv was toppled and destroyed on 28 September 2014.
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. Some estimates said that more than 90 statues were toppled. In December 2015, The Ukrainian Week calculated that 376 Lenin monuments were removed or destroyed in February 2014.
This is a partial list:
|Statue of Lenin||Andrievo-Ivanove||3 January 2014||Broken in two||Police launched an investigation based on a Criminal Code article entitled "Destruction of, or Damage to, Monuments of History or Culture".|
|Statue of Lenin||Berdychiv||22 February 2014||Toppled and destroyed|
|Statue of Lenin||Bila Tserkva||Toppled and destroyed|
|Statue of Lenin||Chernihiv||21 February 2014||Toppled|
|Statue of Lenin||Chervona Sloboda||8 July 2014||Toppled||According to the Ukrainian Communist Party "a criminal case has been opened over the act of vandalism".|
|Statue of Lenin||Kharkiv||28 September 2014||Toppled and destroyed|
|Statue of Lenin||Khmelnitsky||21 February 2014||Toppled|
|Statue of Lenin||Kyiv||8 December 2013||Toppled and destroyed|
|Statue of Lenin||Korosten||5 October 2014||Toppled|
|Statue of Lenin||Kotovsk||8 December 2013||Broken into several pieces|
|Statue of Lenin||Melitopol||5 July 2015||Dismantled by the City Council|
|Statue of Lenin||Zhytomyr||21 February 2014||Toppled and destroyed|
The removal of the monuments evoked mixed feelings among the Ukrainian population. In some cases, like in Kharkiv in early 2014, 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. The Statue of Lenin in Kharkiv was toppled on 28 September 2014. 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".
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.
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, some of the monuments might be listed as national heritage sites, and therefore their dismantling requires checking if they were actually listed as such.
- List of statues of Vladimir Lenin
- List of communist monuments in Ukraine
- Decommunization in Ukraine
- Removal of Confederate monuments and memorials
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Poroshenko signs laws on denouncing Communist, Nazi regimes, Interfax-Ukraine. 15 May 20
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(in Ukrainian) WITH 50 THOUSAND RENAMED OBJECTS PLACE NAMES, ONLY 34 ARE NAMED AFTER BANDERA, Ukrainian Institute of National Remembrance (16 January 2017)
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