Lenin Returns to Ukraine

A statue of Vladimir Lenin again stands in front of the municipal building in the Ukrainian town of Henichesk, in Kherson oblast, right over the border from Crimea. Based on available photos the Russian flag and some kind of Soviet flag were already flying above the municipal building. During the Maidan Revolution in early 2014 that led to the removal of pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych, activists pulled down Lenin statues all across Ukraine. The original Lenin statue in Henichesk was not brought down during this time. It was removed by city officials in 2015 after Ukraine passed a decommunization law banning Soviet symbols. 

Henichesk Mayor Alexander Tulupov told a reporter at the time that 90 percent of the population of the town “reacted normally to the demolition of the monument,” but that some residents were indignant. He also emphasized: “We did not allow this monument to be thrown away, we left it for history. Today we have it in safekeeping in one of the utility companies.”

Now a Lenin statue has reappeared, but it is not the same one as the one taken down in 2015. They didn’t just take the old one out of a warehouse and pop it back into place; somebody expended some effort and found a different one (maybe the old one was too big or could not be located).

This might strike some as a bit strange, as Vladimir Putin has stated that Lenin’s revolution betrayed the interests of the Russian nation. In 2016 he directly condemned Lenin as an oppressor who had killed priests and the czar and for having placed a “time bomb” under the Russian state by allowing internal “ethnic” regions in the Soviet Empire. In his pre-war speech on February 21, Putin specifically invoked Lenin as the ultimate villain behind Ukraine’s existence:

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