After the events in Charlotsville on the streets of American cities is becoming less monument to the defenders of the Confederacy. On the eve of the University of Texas ordered to dismantle three of the monument to the South, the monument was removed from the campus at night to avoid riots.
Meanwhile, the news is that too controversial monuments, came from Ukraine: the authorities reported that in the country there is not one monument to Lenin. Ksenia Turkova tried to find out what the General Ukrainian Council and American “deconfiguration”.
Philologist, researcher of the Soviet ideology Hasan Huseynov in may 2017 came to Kyiv to present his book about the language of hatred. But before that decided to go on Shevchenko Boulevard – look at the place where not so long ago was “the most Central” Lenin. It was demolished in December 2013 the participants of the Euromaidan. On the Boulevard there was only a pedestal, painted in the colors of the Ukrainian flag.
But just before the arrival Huseynov, the picture has changed: the Mexican artist ISA Carillo opened on the pedestal “the Ritual of nature”, decorated the pedestal with fresh mint and rosemary. Carillo explained that he wants “to neutralize the ideology of the healing forces of nature.”
Now, watching what is happening with the monuments to the leaders of the Confederation in the United States, Hasan Huseynov draws Parallels: “There are some monuments of stone, granite, metal, and there are some people who decided that they interfere and must be removed. So here the comparison is fair. Just in the case of Ukraine objected to were in the minority. And in the United States faced two political groups: those who want to destroy the monuments, and those who want to preserve them.”
According to Huseynov, every historical episode has its own dynamics. Often sites want to destroy the traces of another presence: for example, in Eastern Europe after the XX Congress of the CPSU. Soviet monuments meant the occupation, the arrival of strangers. And in Ukraine – Leninabad was organized as the destruction of the traces of the Soviet-Russian presence.
Doctor of historical Sciences, Professor of the Department of history, Kyiv-Mohyla Academy of Ukraine Georgiy Kasianov notes: demolition of monuments is always a surge of emotion. According to him, the situation with monuments in the U.S. – a signal that in society there are tensions, and stream this tension – the elimination of monuments.
“The motives in the USA and in Ukraine are different, says Kasyanov, purely political and purely cultural. A total that people are engaged in a peculiar form of iconoclasm. These acts of elimination of some of the characters – what characters! – important for political mobilization. There are certain political forces are mobilized and are thus their position. And shared in the fact that any such mobilization primarily falls on the characters.”
And yet, the historian, like the combination of spontaneity and organization. He recalled that in Ukraine at the head of those who demolished the monument, there were representatives of right-wing forces. They were the organizers, and the popular indignation was part of the overall relationship of power. “People rightly believed that it (the power) is largely Soviet-nostalgic.
And liquidation of monuments to Lenin were part of a General protest against that particular government.”, – explains Kasyanov. And making a reservation: according to him, even now, two years after the start of decommunisation to say that in society there is total consensus is not necessary.
This is confirmed by the Ukrainian polls. The General Director of Kiev international Institute of sociology Volodymyr Paniotto has said in an interview with “Voice of America” that the majority of Ukrainians, according to opinion polls, after all, was against the dismantling of the monument:
“About 40% and about 50% against. It’s Ukraine in General. The West was the removal of all monuments to Lenin, there was about 70%. And against only 23%. And in the center of about 40% and about 50% against. Well, in the East, only 18% and almost 60% against the dismantling. And it’s pretty stable numbers, which especially do not change,” said Paniotto.
The sociologist is sure that the supporters of dismantling all this time has not become longer because decommunization was largely formal. Paniotto believes that public opinion in fact, were not considered. For example, there was no active campaign, which tells about the crimes of Lenin, although in recent years, thanks to the opening of the archives, there are many new data. “In the end, it did not lead to that effect, which was to be – to changes in people’s minds,” says Vladimir Paniotto.
Leninabad in the minds never happened, he States.
In just two years since the entry into force of the law on decommunization was demolished 1320 monuments. This wave of getting rid of Soviet monuments has become Ukraine’s third in a row. The first took place in the regions of Western Ukraine in the early 90s. Then it was dismantled a monument in Kiev on the area of October revolution — the modern Independence square.
The second wave had to wait almost 20 years. In 2009, the then President Viktor Yushchenko signed a decree “On additional measures to perpetuate the memory of victims of Holodomor 1932-1933 in Ukraine”. One of its provisions was “measures for the dismantling of monuments and memorial signs devoted to persons involved in the organization and implementation of the Holodomor and political repressions”.
But it so happened that in most of the cities and villages of Ukraine the local authorities, this provision has not fulfilled. Monuments to Lenin were generously scattered on the map of independent Ukraine and became the objects of popular anger only during and after the events of 2013. But if the first monuments were demolished mostly spontaneously (as in Kiev and Kharkov), after dismantling became “civilized”. So, the demolition of the monument to Lenin in Zaporozhye was broadcast live.
Philologist, cultural historian Hasan Huseynov said: “Often a monument is destroyed, because there is another request for the occupation of this place. This is the place where stands the monument, to be occupied with something else. When this setup is, if monuments are destroyed easier then they are not as monuments, but as birthmarks hideous past.”
“Another query” is often manifested in how the Ukrainians on their own “neutralized” monuments without waiting for their demolition. For example, the one Zaporozhye the monument before demolition was dressed in a Ukrainian embroidered shirt. In one of the cities of Luhansk oblast Lenin turned in Tarasa Shevchenka: ‘ve added him a moustache, wearing a headdress and traditional costume.
And in the village of Pervomayskaya of the Nikolaev area instead of Lenin, a monument to sugar beet.
Numerous of the demolished Lenin now waiting in the wings to meet in the Park of the Soviet period, the Ukrainian authorities are going to open in Kiev.
It is also interesting that in the territories not controlled by Ukraine and occupied modes of the self-proclaimed “DNR” and “LNR” monuments to Soviet leaders, by contrast, began to appear. In one of the cities of the Luhansk region, for example, that the bust of Stalin (the monument to the “leader of Nations” in recent times, there are many in Russia).
At the same time there are monuments to “new heroes” of the unrecognized territories, says a Ukrainian journalist, a native of Lugansk Andrey Dikhtyarenko. He recalled that in the years 2015-16 spontaneously began to appear monuments dedicated to different field commanders, including the head of the gang, “Ghost” Alexei Brain.
“Also began to erect monuments which should serve as a kind of propaganda purposes, – says Andrey Dikhtyarenko. – In Lugansk appeared in the centre of the monument, depicting a soldier who carries the baby in her arms. This monument was dedicated to the victims of airstrike in Lugansk in early June 2014. But it is known that not a single child didn’t hurt. In Lugansk there was a large sculpture depicting four people –a woman, a Cossack, a man in a beret of the airborne forces and the man in the helmet, resembling a “courteous man”. The monument was called “defenders of Lugansk region”.
As a resident of Luhansk, Andriy dreams that someday will be a neutral, cleansed of ideology, the monument to the war. According to him, this memorial just needs to recall that the events that occurred and are occurring on the territory of Donbass should not be repeated.
Neutral monument to any war – whether Civil war in America or the hybrid war in Ukraine – think hard, but possible. Historians say that such monuments are. For example, the völkerschlachtdenkmal in Leipzig. It is installed in the memory of the events of 1813, when the coalition of Russians, Austrians, and Swedes Pruszkow smashed the French army of Napoleon. In front of the monument built Russian Church in memory of the soldiers killed in the battle of the Nations. All this perpetuates the memory of figures and events not the role of the individual, and the role of the tragedy.
So while in the US, and Ukraine, of the wars and conflicts will resemble the monuments of former generals and former politicians, will always remain the possibility that modern politicians use them to foment a new war.