Vladimir Lenin monument, Kyiv
The Vladimir Lenin monument in Kyiv was a statue dedicated to Vladimir Lenin, the founder of the Soviet Union in Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine. The larger than life-size (3.45 meters [11.32 feet]) Lenin monument was built by Soviet sculptor Sergey Merkurov from the same red Karelian stone as Lenin's Mausoleum. It was displayed at the 1939 New York World's Fair and erected on Kyiv's main Khreshchatyk Street (at the intersection of Shevchenko Boulevard, opposite the Bessarabsky Market) on 5 December 1946.
The statue was violently toppled from its pedestal and crushed by an angry mob on 8 December 2013, as part of the Euromaidan events, when many other Soviet statues were toppled. The plinth remains in place, and has become at times a site of political artwork, and arguments. Since 2016 various sculptures or installations have been exhibitioned in front of the plinth.
According to the decree of the former President of Ukraine, Viktor Yushchenko, this monument of the Soviet Union and the associated Communist period should have been removed after Ukraine gained independence. Nevertheless, due to the resistance of the Communist Party of Ukraine, whose members were elected to Verhovna Rada, the last Kyiv monument to Lenin was left standing.
On 1 December 2013 a group of masked men attempted to topple the statue during the surge of the Euromaidan protests. Police immediately reacted by deploying a small Berkut riot police unit which was attacked, overwhelmed and forced to flee. Euromaidan leaders immediately denounced both the monument attempt and the clash with police as an action of unaffiliated "provocateurs".
Subsequently, on 8 December 2013, several Ukrainian individuals subsequently claimed to be affiliated with the Svoboda political party toppled the statue, as Kyiv police silently looked on. The statue then broke from impact with the ground.
The removal or destruction of Lenin monuments and statues gained particular momentum after the destruction of the Kyiv Lenin statue. Under the motto "Ленінопад" (Leninopad, translated into English as "Leninfall"), activists pulled down a dozen communist monuments in the Kyiv region, Zhytomyr, Khmelnytskyi, and elsewhere, or damaged them during the course of the EuroMaidan protests into spring of 2014. In other cities and towns, monuments were removed by organised heavy equipment and transported to scrapyards or dumps.
A member of the Ukrainian parliament from the party UDAR, Valeriy Karpuntsov, announced that Ukrainian police had started arrests of people present in the area during the fall of the last monument to Lenin in Kyiv.
The governor of Kharkiv Oblast, Mykhailo Dobkin, tweeted on 8 December 2013 about starting a crowdfunding campaign to restore the monument: "Tomorrow I will open the account for restoration of the monument to Lenin in Kyiv… Everybody, who hates Hutsuls for their stupidity, join". He stated that he would allocate the sum of 100,000 hryvnias for the restoration of the monument.
- Singer Ruslana (one of the leading figures of the protests) was critical of the event, saying, "We do not need any barbaric actions. We condemn acts of vandalism, savagery, violence and anything that can divide and split Ukraine [...] doubling monuments and calls for aggression is nothing but a movement in the opposite direction of European integration and humane society."
Site of the former monument since its toppling
On 15 May 2015, President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko signed a bill into law that started a six-month period for the removal of all communist themed monuments in Ukraine.
Although the statue has been removed, the monument's plinth has remained in place. This plinth has become at times a site of political artwork, and arguments. Since 2016 various sculptures or installations have been exhibitioned in front of the plinth.
- List of communist monuments damaged during Euromaidan
- List of communist monuments in Ukraine
- List of statues of Vladimir Lenin
- Monument of the Great October Revolution
- Decommunization in Ukraine
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(in Ukrainian) In the center of Kyiv installed a new sculpture, Ukrainians are not thrilled: "Shackles of power united by a layer". ZNAJ.UA. 30 October 2019
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Yet the Euromaidan, as the protest campaign is known, is serious enough to give President Viktor Yanukovych a serious scare.
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