Red Army monuments are a reminder of the astounding Soviet sacrifice during the war. You find them not only in the ex-communist bloc but in western Europe too – Berlin and Vienna being most prominent. Those two cities even feature quotations from Stalin, which remain in place without harassment. The degree of the Soviet sacrifice seems to be appreciated there.
The Soviet army played a major role in saving this part of Europe from the realisation of Hitler’s master plan in the east, which proposed the colonisation, enslavement and eventual extermination of the Slavic population.
In some areas of the former USSR that are keen to shrug off Moscow’s influence, Russia’s role in the second world war is seen largely through the initial collaboration with Hitler. But it is the Soviet Union’s later actions and subsequent role in the defeat of the Nazis in Europe that should be dominant.
Well, there you have it. Soviet monuments should be kept in formerly occupied Soviet countries because Russia saved the world from Nazism! We should ignore Soviet collaboration that allowed the war to ignite. We should ignore all Soviet actions except the defeat of the Nazis. In other words, we should ignore all the evils the Soviet Union unleashed upon everyone, because the other major evil in WWII was eventually defeated by their sacrifice. If you were to apply that line of thinking to any other situation, say a mass murderer who in the process of mass murdering manages to help do one good thing, and then just continues along with his mass murdering - no one would be able to look past the murdering. It just defies belief that Russian apologists keep spinning the line that all Soviet evil should be overlooked because of the defeat of the Nazis. I just cannot get my head around the type of mentality that justifies evil in this way.
With the dissolution of the USSR in 1991, the Russian government made the preservation of Red Army monuments one of the conditions of the troops’ withdrawal from the newly independent countries.
Just astounding, the requirement to keep Soviet monuments as a condition of withdrawal! I'd never heard of this until I read the linked article. That certainly puts the dissolution of the Soviet Union into perspective in 1991 - looks like the Russian Government may have been expecting the breakdown of their empire to be temporary. With what is happening in Ukraine right now, the empire is seeking to reassemble itself, with or without the assent of the former Soviet Republics!
Meanwhile, The Washington Post has an interesting article on What toppled Lenin statues tell us about Ukraine’s crisis:
"To many Ukrainians, Lenin represents not only the communist regime, but also radical separation from Europe and Western civilization more broadly, Steven Fish, a Russian studies professor at University of California Berkeley, told the Los Angeles Times last December after a statue had been toppled in [Kyiv].
Other scholars view the toppling in a more modern light. Sasha Senderovich, assistant professor of Russian Studies at the University of Colorado Boulder who wrote a New York Times op-ed on this issue last December, considers Sunday's event not to be connected to Lenin specifically. "At this point, after Putin's assault on Ukraine's territorial integrity, the statue has become more symbolic of Russia's continued attempt to exercise imperial dominance over Ukraine rather than solely the historical legacy of the Soviet Union," he told The Post on Monday.
Here's some more pictures of Lenin coming down in Kharkiv a couple of days ago.
|First, Lenin's legs were cut|
|With his legs cut, he was able to be pulled down|
|And down he goes|