In the age of the Soviet Union, the revolutionary leader Vladimir Lenin watched over the citizens of communist countries through the eyes of thousands upon thousands of stone and bronze statues. What happened to this well-known image after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1989? The practice of pulling Lenin down off his pedestal has occurred in all post-Soviet societies. In Ukraine, the phenomenon has been referred to as “Leninopad”, the fall of Lenin – the largest popular movement against statues before the recent protests in Great Britain and the United States. A century after his death, the author documents Lenin’s rise and fall through the likenesses of him that were erected, respected and then removed, vandalised and, in some cases, reinterpreted. This book helps us understand the complexity of the contemporary world and see what happens to people and things when history seems to be over, yet continues and changes direction.
Antonella Salomoni teaches Contemporary History at the University of Calabria and History of the Shoah and Genocides at the University of Bologna.