A hated symbol

December 10th, 2013 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Pro-European demonstrators toppled the statute of Lenin, the founder of the Soviet Union, from its plinth in central Kiev as record numbers flooded the city streets.

The crowds had gathered to protest against the Government’s decision to pursue closer ties with Moscow at the expense of the West.

In jubilant scenes that demonstrated President Victor Yanukovich had lost control of the heart of the capital, the crowd pulled down the statue and took turns with a sledgehammer to smash its marble hulk to bits.

Sparks flew as each blow landed to cheers. A priest emerged from the throng with holy water and proceeded to bless the hammer as the mood hovered between euphoria and happiness.

The statue of the Kremlin’s first communist ruler is the symbol of ’s shared history with Russia and sits on the main boulevard leading to Kiev’s Independence Square.

Lenin was a mass murderer who had around 30,000 political dissidents killed, invaded and enslaved neighbouring countries and established a regime which starved and kills its own people for decades. It is fitting the good people of the Ukraine despise him and his legacy – they had to suffer it for many years.

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42 Responses to “A hated symbol”

  1. In Vino Veritas (136 comments) says:

    Yup, slaughtered thousands. And this is the sort of Government John Minto wanted in South Africa, and along with Max Dillon Coyle, wants here in NZ.

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  2. Nick R (443 comments) says:

    I think this probably has less to do with Lenin’s legacy and than with the tug of war between the EU and Russia over Ukraine. The protesters will be far more concerned about Putin than Lenin.

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  3. louie (78 comments) says:

    I hear Minto wants a tax payer funded trip to mourn the statue.

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  4. cha (3,529 comments) says:

    Immigrants versus locals.

    http://www.news.com.au/world/understanding-the-ukrainian-crisis/story-fndir2ev-1226774062383

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  5. stephieboy (1,118 comments) says:

    Minto is rather irrelevant to this.i What is relevant is one Noam Chomsky the doyen of many on the International left who has in many more ways than than one sought assiduously and nefariously to promote and revive the old Soviet Union in more ways than one.

    http://www.thecommentator.com/article/909/noam_chomsky_s_half_truths_and_distortions_are_still_loved_by_the_british_left/page/2

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  6. All_on_Red (941 comments) says:

    Fair enough they want to avoid the grip of the Russian Bear but frankly joining the EU will see an even greater loss of sovereignty.
    They should choose to remain independent outside of Russia and the EU and just pursue Free Trade Agreements with both groups.
    Just like what Switzerland does now. And Switzerland clearly gets the best of both worlds by doing so.
    Fantastic demonstration though.

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  7. stephieboy (1,118 comments) says:

    All on Red. The loss of sovereignty by joining the EU is nothing like that experienced by Eastern Europe under Soviet tutelage . There would be nothing to stop the Ukraine from withdrawing from the EU id things didm’t turn out to its liking.
    Russia is obviously shackled by its authoritarian and autocratic Soviet past.

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  8. Yoza (1,348 comments) says:

    stephieboy (127 comments) says:
    December 10th, 2013 at 2:26 pm

    What is relevant is one Noam Chomsky the doyen of many on the International left who has in many more ways than than one sought assiduously and nefariously to promote and revive the old Soviet Union in more ways than one.

    Bullshit, Noam Chomsky, like any other anarchist, is accutely aware of the vicious totalitarian nature of the likes of Lenin and Stalin. Chomsky has consistently been highly critical of the totalitarian nature of the former Soviet Union.

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  9. Manolo (12,618 comments) says:

    Lenin was a monster and a mass-murderer. His statues deserve to be toppled everywhere around the world.

    Alongside Mao, Stalin, and Hitler he’s among the greatest criminals of the last century.

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  10. Jack5 (4,216 comments) says:

    There’s more to this than capitalism v. communism.

    There are large ethnic Russian minorities in the east and far-west of Ukraine and in Crimea. Up to about a quarter of Ukrainians speak Russian as their first language. There may be around 8.5 million Russians living in the Ukraine.

    To Russians, Kiev, Ukraine’s capital remains the cultural foundation centre of Russia. I suspect they see Kiev in the EU the way we might see Rome in a Muslim federation.

    Add to this emotions from Stalin’s brutal genocide of many millions of Ukrainians by starvation before World War 2, followed by the large number of Ukrainians who fought in the German Army and helped run concentration camps in World War 2. (NZ troops came up against Ukrainians in German uniforms in Italy.) From this, you have a nuclear powder keg. Ukraine is reported to have inherited 5000 nuclear weapons from the break-up of the Soviet Union, but to have transferred them all to Russia by 1996.What if they kept a hundred or two?

    Russia has already formally asked Nato whether it intends to intervene in Ukraine.

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  11. redqueen (342 comments) says:

    Whether a hated symbol or not, statutes of Lenin are reasonably common in Ukraine. This is more about attempts to raise ‘international awareness’ of this ‘revolution’ than any real distate towards Lenin (the statutes have remained up, post independence, even with Pro-Ukraine governments in power).

    The tragedy is that most of the protestors and nominal supporters have no actual knowledge of what is involved or going on and seem to think it’s about ‘joining the EU or Russia’. Ukraine had two European options on the table, an FTA and a regional partnership agreement (including the non-EU remains of Eastern Europe), along with the Russians discussing a customs union on the other side. Various opposition politicians have decided to use this as a means of overthrowing the government, rather than bothering with the pesky task of waiting for the next election. So what you’ve got is the usual tragedy that is modern Ukraine: no actual knowledge of events, but lots of emotion and international praise / fascination with a perceivedly noble ‘revolution’, with lots of reporting that disregards any bothersome details or analysis.

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  12. Jack5 (4,216 comments) says:

    To be fair to the Ukrainians (my 3.01 post), probably ten times as many fought in the Red Army as in the Wehrmacht and SS.

    That illustrates how stupid the Nazis were. The Nazis soon had control of tens of millions of downtrodden Ukrainians and Russians who could have been turned against communism, but the Nazis wouldn’t or couldn’t anywhere near fully use them because the Nazis were so hung up on their own vile prejudice that Slavs were subhuman.

    To be fair to the Russians, some of those involved in the hunger genocide of the Ukrainians were Ukrainian, e.g. Khruschchev.

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  13. OneTrack (1,957 comments) says:

    “.., like any other anarchist, is accutely aware of the vicious totalitarian nature of the likes of Lenin and Stalin”

    But that doesn’t stop him, or our local variants, espousing the “benefits” of Lenin and Stalins brand of extreme socialism. In practice, “anarchist” seems to be just a different (hipper) word for communist.

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  14. MH (558 comments) says:

    Lenin: it’s a choice of putin on the ritz or pedestal, Ukraine girls really knock me out.

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  15. F E Smith (3,273 comments) says:

    To paraphrase Yoza:

    “Lenin was an example of the bad part of the left wing. As an anarchist, I am an example of the good part of the left wing, as shown by my movement’s history of bombings, killing opponents, and causing large amounts of property damage through the years…”

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  16. Simon (612 comments) says:

    The left loved Lenin and continued to argue the communism was a viable alternative to market economics right up until the Soviet Empire collapsed.

    A couple of paragraphs from a letter from Lenin to Politburo offers insight to Lenin’s legacy to Russia and his inspiration to the Western left.

    “Now and only now, when people are being
    eaten in famine-stricken areas, and hundreds, if not thousands, of
    corpses lie on the roads, we can (and therefore must) pursue the
    removal of church property with the most frenzied and ruthless
    energy and not hesitate to put down the least opposition”

    “We must pursue the removal of church property by any
    means necessary in order to secure for ourselves a fund of several
    hundred million gold rubles (do not forget the immense wealth of
    some monasteries and lauras). Without this fund any government
    work in general, any economic build-up in particular, and any
    upholding of soviet principles in Genoa especially is completely
    unthinkable. In order to get our hands on this fund of several
    hundred million gold rubles (and perhaps even several hundred
    billion), we must do whatever is necessary.”

    http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/archives/ae2bkhun.html

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  17. MH (558 comments) says:

    religion is the opprobrium of the people.

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  18. wikiriwhis business (3,276 comments) says:

    ‘religion is the opprobrium of the people.’

    Actually, religion doen’t give you a buzz at all. It doesn’t even ease yor conscience.

    Without the living God it all just becomes an ingrained habit that makes you appear pious.

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  19. Jack5 (4,216 comments) says:

    An interesting interview with the former Polish President who has been negotiating with Ukraine on behalf of the European Union:

    http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/spiegel-interview-with-aleksander-kwasniewski-on-ukraine-talks-a-937964.html

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  20. kowtow (6,690 comments) says:

    They want to join the EU so they can go live in the UK and sign on.

    Watch what happens when the Bulgars and Romanians get to flood the UK come Jan 1.

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  21. Yoza (1,348 comments) says:

    F E Smith (3,016 comments) says:
    December 10th, 2013 at 3:50 pm

    as shown by my movement’s history of bombings, killing opponents, and causing large amounts of property damage through the years…”

    When compared to the crimes carried out by the forces of corporatocracies (like the US) and their fascist allies (like Pinochet) the transgressions committed by anarchists are miniscule.

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  22. OneTrack (1,957 comments) says:

    Yoza – “.. compared to the crimes carried out by the forces of corporatocracies (like the US) ..”

    What is a “corporatocracy” and why is the US one?

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  23. grumpyoldhori (2,410 comments) says:

    It will be interesting if the Russian speaking part of the Ukraine wants to break away and join Russia.
    What will the EU or Nato do if Russian troops invade the Russian speaking parts of the Ukraine ?
    My bet is that Nato will do what they did when Russia gave Georgia a slap, nothing.

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  24. MH (558 comments) says:

    like an autocratic cabal,but with extra letters.

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  25. Yoza (1,348 comments) says:

    OneTrack (1,259 comments) says:
    December 10th, 2013 at 5:16 pm

    What is a “corporatocracy” and why is the US one?

    A corporatocracy is a state run for the benefit of private corporations, as is the case in the US.

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  26. F E Smith (3,273 comments) says:

    When compared to the crimes carried out by the forces of corporatocracies (like the US) and their fascist allies (like Pinochet) the transgressions committed by anarchists are miniscule.

    Ah yes, the old “we aren’t as bad as our imaginary enemy” defence, eh?  Nice one. 

    Of course, Pinochet, although running a despicable political machine, was not fascist, but never mind.

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  27. F E Smith (3,273 comments) says:

    When compared to the crimes carried out by the forces of corporatocracies (like the US) and their fascist allies (like Pinochet) the transgressions committed by anarchists are miniscule.

    Hey, I wonder if that would work for my clients?  Something like “Your Honour, compared to Bernie Madoff, my client’s theft of $500 is nothing.  Therefore it’s ok.”

    Or how about “Your Honour, my client really disagrees with the political position of the victim, therefore it was ok to destroy the property belonging to them and other people”…

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  28. Yoza (1,348 comments) says:

    F E Smith (3,017 comments) says:
    December 10th, 2013 at 5:36 pm

    Ah yes, the old “we aren’t as bad as our imaginary enemy” defence, eh? Nice one.

    Of course, Pinochet, although running a despicable political machine, was not fascist, but never mind.

    In the Middle East and South East Asia the US has slaughtered millions. The CIA and the US military have been involved in imposing fascist juntas on states throughout Central and South America. What you actually mean is Pinochet does not fit the imaginary definition you have invented for what constitutes a fascist.

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  29. F E Smith (3,273 comments) says:

    A corporatocracy is a state run for the benefit of private corporations, as is the case in the US.

    A favourite topic of of people suffering from this, and more spefically this

    Hey, Yoza, do you ever get depressed that you will never, ever, achieve your socialist anarchist goals?

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  30. tas (527 comments) says:

    Why do many in the Ukraine want closer ties with Russia? Russia oppressed the Ukraine for decades, killing millions.

    Why are there still Lennin statues in eastern Europe? Lennin’s ideology is a proven failure.

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  31. F E Smith (3,273 comments) says:

    In the Middle East and South East Asia the US has slaughtered millions.

    Sure they have.

    The CIA and the US military have been involved in imposing fascist juntas on states throughout Central and South America.

    Of course, of course. Whatever you say.

    What you actually mean is Pinochet does not fit the imaginary definition you have invented for what constitutes a fascist.

    Nope.  Was not a fascist.

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  32. F E Smith (3,273 comments) says:

    Lennin’s ideology is a proven failure.

    Shhh, don’t tell Yoza!

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  33. Yoza (1,348 comments) says:

    Or how about “Your Honour, my client really disagrees with the political position of the victim, therefore it was ok to destroy the property belonging to them and other people”…

    It would work if your client was a cop.

    I’m not denying anarchists haven’t been involved in some pretty nasty stuff, what I am also saying is the political system you support has been involved in far worse – so much so that by comparison the crimes of anarchists are insignificant to the point of being non-existent.

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  34. F E Smith (3,273 comments) says:

    Come on, Yoza, you should be nice to me; I have defended many an avid re-distributionist!

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  35. Yoza (1,348 comments) says:

    Come on, Yoza, you should be nice to me; I have defended many an avid re-distributionist!

    Defended or helped put away?

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  36. F E Smith (3,273 comments) says:

    what I am also saying is the political system you support has been involved in far worse

    Yeah, but 95% of that is in your head, so I can’t really address that with a straight face.

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  37. F E Smith (3,273 comments) says:

    Defended or helped put away?

    Defended.  That is what it means to be a criminal defence lawyer.

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  38. F E Smith (3,273 comments) says:

    However nice it is to chat with you, Yoza, I am afraid that I have to go to training now, so must bid you all farewell.

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  39. thebluetrotsky (3 comments) says:

    David – context and historical perspective please. The bolcheviks overthrew an imperial state that killed millions using pogroms, starvation, political imprisonment, war and straight out executions with no trial. 30,000 opponents (although 30,000 is too many) seems small beer compared to the greater good at the time. I can give you a long list of western leaders who have killed as many, invaded other states and are revered in history. Tony Blair & George W Bush comes to mind in just the past decade. Never mind the African atrocities in recent times. Lenin does not lead necessarily lead to Stalinism. If Trotsky and Luxembourg had not been ousted, hounded and assassinated the world may be a different place. Remember that in the 1980′s Mandela was a terrorist in many eyes and the ANC would wreak havoc in South Africa…history played out differently.

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  40. kowtow (6,690 comments) says:

    Blue trotsky?

    Because no blood gets to what passes for his brain?

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  41. Kea (10,451 comments) says:

    The Russian socialists killed more people in the Ukraine than the German socialists did Jews in the holocaust.

    Yoza was clearly born to soon and missed the zenith of socialism.

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  42. Yoza (1,348 comments) says:

    Kea (9,435 comments) says:
    December 11th, 2013 at 1:58 pm

    Yoza was clearly born to soon and missed the zenith of socialism.

    F E Smith (3,025 comments) says:
    December 10th, 2013 at 5:53 pm

    Hey, Yoza, do you ever get depressed that you will never, ever, achieve your socialist anarchist goals?

    I believe the political system, globally, must change or the human species is doomed. If a few million rich people get it in the neck so the rest of the human species gets to survive then that is just how it will have to be. I don’t yearn for the revolution, I think the revolution is going to be an almighty pain in the arse.

    It’s a numbers game, anyone who thinks the numbers are stacked in favour of the ruling elite is as deluded as Marie Antoinette or the Romanovs.

    The revolution will happen and the longer it is prevented the more violent it will be when it bursts, and if we fuck it up we are all dead anyway.

    That’s what I know will happen, sure as the sun’s coming up tomorrow.

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