Thursday, February 17, 2011
A statue of Lenin still stands in front of the Besarabsky Market in central Kiev, and remains a point of intense controversy among the city's residents. Many see it as a symbol of unwanted Russian influence in Ukraine, and a monument to the communist system that killed millions of Ukrainians. In the country's western regional capital of Lviv, the city's Lenin statue was pulled down and replaced by one of the national poet Taras Shevchenko. The Kiev statue of Lenin was damaged on June 30th 2009 by protesters who smashed the nose and the left hand of the monument. It was restored with funding provided by the Communist Party of Ukraine, and unveiled to the public later that year. During the ceremony the statue was hit with red paint by political activists who demanded its removal. The debate continues, and Lenin continues to stare down on the citizens of Kiev.