MOSCOW, August 20 (RIA Novosti) – A nationalist statue and one of Communist state founder Vladimir Lenin were defaced in separate attacks in Ukraine this week, continuing a long-running local trend of settling ideological grievances through vandalism.
The Lenin statue in the central Ukrainian town of Berdichev still points “the way to a brighter future,” as the Soviet leader would say, but now it does so without a head on his shoulders, regional television network VIK reported Tuesday.
The head vanished in a vandal attack, but a local Communist organization has vowed to put up a new one, the report said.
However, the mutilation sustained by the Communist ideologue was still less than what was delivered to a monument to the Ukrainian Insurgent Army – which fought against the Soviets in World War II – in the western Lvov Region, a hotbed of Ukrainian nationalism, Zn.ua said Tuesday.
The monument, which features a statue of a woman breaking through chains, was ripped in half, with its head cut off. Unlike with the Lenin, though, the head was left at the scene.
Police reported no incarcerations over either act of vandalism, which is far from the first in the East European country, torn between nostalgia for its Soviet past and a dream of integration into the European Union.
At least 12 Lenin statues – a still-ubiquitous Soviet legacy – have been defaced in Ukraine since 2009, the Argumenty i Fakty newspaper said. The Lenins have been painted over, smashed with sledgehammers, covered with derogatory graffiti, shot with paintball guns, broken and, on one occasion, dressed in a rabbit mask.
But political leftists have appeared to launch a counteroffensive this year, with three monuments celebrating Ukrainian nationalists being attacked since April, not counting the Lvov Region statue. On an April night in Kharkov, the country’s second-largest city, attackers bulldozed a memorial to the Ukrainian Insurgent Army.
Admittedly, the “statue war,” as local media have dubbed it, is not a strictly Ukrainian phenomenon. Russia has also seen its share of attacks on Lenin statues in recent years, the most prominent being in St. Petersburg on April Fools’ Day 2009, when a small bomb blasted a round hole in the statue’s behind.