Lenin’s 150th anniversary celebrations took place despite coronavirus

On April 22, 2020, new monuments dedicated to Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin were inaugurated at least in four regions of Russia. In Sayansk, Irkutsk Region, a monument made by local sculptor Ivan Zuev was erected on the initiative of the Children of war, a non-governmental organization. Another Lenin monument appeared in Raduzhny suburban community near Ulan-Ude, Buryatia. An old, mouldering bust of Lenin was replaced with a new one in the village of Snykhovo, west of Tula, yet another one inaugurated in Dedovichi, Pskov Region.

The inauguration of another new Lenin monument was also to take place in Gelsenkirchen, North Rein Westfalia, Germany, on the same day. In March 2020, the far-left Marxist-Leninist Party of Germany asserted its right in court to erect the monument, however, the ceremony was canceled due to coronavirus.

A lot of existing Lenin monuments in Russia had been restored on the eve of the anniversary, many of them in Pskov Region (https://informpskov.ru/news/320640.html) towns of Novosokolniki, Porkhov and Zaplyusye. Bryansk announced that large-scale restoration work regarding the Lenin monument in front of the mechanical factory palace of culture is now complete. Twelve new LED lamps now illuminate the monument, with the square surrounded by CCTV cameras and a new parking place now available at the entrance.

Despite the stay-at-home measures introduced due to the pandemic, some of the celebratory events did take place in Russia on April 22. Members of the Communist  Party of the Russian Federation laid flowers to Lenin’s Mausoleum on the Red Square, with permission from the Moscow authorities. Similar events took place in Barnaul, Altai Krai; Ishim, Tyumen Region; Kurgan Region; Bryansk; Novosibirsk; etc. In Kazan, laying flowers to the Lenin monument was not authorized by the local authorities. The ceremony was stopped by the police. The organizer of an unauthorized demonstration in front of the Lenin monument in Krasnodar was sentenced to 150 hours of compulsory community service by a local court.

In Yekaterinburg, the Lenin monument in the city center became an object of vandalism on April 22 and 23, 2020 with celebratory flower arrangements destroyed at the bottom of its pedestal. Religious activists are under suspicion.

According to opinion polls, only 7 percent of Russian citizens support the idea of putting away Lenin monuments from parks and squares. 76 percent of the population disapprove renaming streets or squares named after Lenin, with 13 percent supporting such initiatives. Over half of Russian citizens (56 percent) believe Lenin’s contribution in the country’s history was a positive one, with only 20 percent sure he played a negative role.

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