Gaidai A. Ju., Liubaretc A. V. Leninfall: elimination of the past as a way of constructing the future (On the materials of Dnepropetrovsk, Zaporozhye and Kharkov) (.pdf)


The clearest evidence of changes in the memorial sphere and historical politics in Ukraine was mass wrecking of Lenin statues, or leninfall. It started during the winter protests of 2013–2014 and caused intense political debates on the fate of the Soviet monumental heritage, both inside Ukraine and abroad. The article analyzes the dismantling of Lenin monuments in the three big industrial cities of Central-Eastern Ukraine, where the Soviet orientations are still strong in historical memory of population – Dnepropetrovsk, Zaporozhye and Kharkov. In each of those cities, the demolition of Lenin statue was conducted differently. Among the factors that influenced the way of dealing with the Soviet monuments, there were regional historical memory, the position of the local authorities, and the specifics of a local protest movement. Another important issue is the response of local political elites to the policy of decommunization developed by the central government and its impact on the way of dealing with the monuments to Lenin. The demolition of the monument to Lenin became a significant symbolic event in each city, although it should not be considered as a sole rejection of the Soviet heritage. In the Ukrainian memorial and political landscape of 2014, Lenin statues have gained certain ideological meanings that could not (and should not) be reduced to a specific evaluation of Lenin as a historical figure or of the Soviet period in general. Lenin statues were turn into a display for expressing different political views and ideas. The article draws upon the materials of regional and national media, as well as the interviews with the residents of Kharkov, Dnepropetrovsk and Zaporozhye, who took part in the protest movement of 2013–2014.


Key words: Ukraine, historical politics, anti-government protests, monument to Lenin, decommunization, leninfall, memory, the Soviet period, local authorities.


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