Traces of Soviet Union in Ukraine: from Stalin's skyscrapers to hammer and sickle
Kyiv hotographer Mykyta Yurenev takes photos of the monuments to Soviet heroes, steles and other traces of the Soviet Union in Ukraine, before they are “decommunized”
Read the original text at birdinflight.com.
For 25 years, Ukraine has been an independent state. Only after Maidan unrests the country began to rethink its Soviet history and the actual process of decommunization. Ukraine’s decommunization is manifested in various forms, from the brutal destruction to meaningful and constructive activities.
Lenin monument in Kyiv. Destroyed by the Euromaidan activists in December 2013
Man is inherently very sensitive to the symbols. The easiest (and the most direct) way of change is total ban and destruction of all the visual and semantic elements of the Soviet era.
Mosaic with the image of the Red Army soldier; “Palats Ukraina” metro station (before 1991, the station was known as Chervonoarmiyska or "Red Army"). Hidden behind a decorative wall in 2015
In fact, many Soviet symbols are objects that carry a certain historical or architectural value. Here a reasonable question arises: how these objects might enter into today's reality? Should they be kept as museum pieces? Should we destroy them or transform? How to change people’s outlook and ideology in terms of the post-Soviet era? Is it possible to look into the future instead of fighting with the past?
Monument to Cheka in Kyiv (Cheka is All-Russian Extraordinary commission for combating Counter-revolution and Sabotage). Activists have damaged the letters, praising the NKVD and KGB. It was dismantled in May 2016
The sculptural composition representing steelworkers and engineers on the pedestal of the monument to Lenin, Zaporizhya. It was dismantled in 2016, together with Lenin's monument
Monument symbolizing the friendship of the Ukrainian and Russian peoples. Erected in honor of the 60th anniversary of establishing the USSR
The bas-relief, "Maidan Nezalezhnosti" metro station in Kyiv. Previously, the station was called "Square of the October Revolution" and the inscription "1917" is still visible to the passengers
Hammer and sickle at the entrance of Paton Bridge, one of the bridges across the Dnipro in Kyiv. Probably, they will soon be dismantled, as the hammer and sickle are symbols that are banned in Ukraine. It is noteworthy that the road sign (Kharkiv, Donetsk) is indicating the eastern direction of Ukraine, where the Soviet ideology is still very strong
Dismantling of the Lenin monument in Zaporizhya. It was downed together with a portion of the pedestal and taken into storage. There are plans to exhibit sculptures of Lenin and other communist leaders in one of the parks in Zaporizhya and create an open-air museum of the communist era
Coat of arms of the Soviet Union on the shield of the monument "The Motherland" in Kyiv. Probably in 2016, it will be dismantled or hidden behind the other structure
Bas-relief with a bust of Lenin and quotations from his books; "Teatralna" metro station in Kyiv (formerly known as "Leninska"). For several times, the bust of Lenin was subjected to acts of vandalism, and then it was closed with the decorative wall with the image of the theater hall
History is cyclical, and the revolutionary enthusiasm of activists in 2016 is very similar to the events of a century ago. Today's revolutionaries try to get rid of symbols, erected by revolutionaries of the past, trying to separate from those events and that era.
But separations is not enough. Germany has come a long and difficult path in the process of rethinking its Nazi past. Ukraine is making only the first steps in dealing with the totalitarian past.
Reinforced concrete stele with the name of the city at the entrance to Dnipropetrovsk. In May 2016, Dnipropetrovsk was renamed in Dnipro. This name was given in honor of Hryhoriy Petrovsky, an active revolutionary and party leader of the USSR. Most likely, the stele will be fully or partially dismantled
Bas-relief at the entrance to Dnipropetrovsk Central Bridge depicting workers and farmers, as well as the communist slogan "All power to the Soviets." In the near future it will be dismantled and transferred to the museum
Paton Bridge in Kyiv decorated with Soviet five-pointed stars and a cast iron casting. Although these characters are directly reminiscent of the communist past, they will not be dismantled because of their artistic and historical value
Residential building on Khreschatyk Street in Kyiv, built in the style of Moscow's Stalin's skyscrapers. Known popularly as the "House with the star." The five-pointed star is not a forbidden symbol, so it will not be dismantled. In 2015, it was painted in the colors of the national flag of Ukraine
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