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Goodbye Lenin, hello Superman
метки: zaporozhye city, ukraine, lenin

 The Zaporozhia Lenin statue stands at the end of Lenin Avenue, his arm raised towards the huge sweep of the dam which he conceived and which was built not long after his death in 1924.

“I want him to stay, he’s part of our landscape, our history,” says Valentina, a hotel receptionist who works nearby. “My grandmother came here in the 1930s to help build the hydro-electric plant. I visited Lenin on trips as a Pioneer and my girlfriends all had their wedding pictures taken next to him.

“Taking him down and changing all the communist street names will cost a lot of money. The country is at war and the economy is falling apart. Let’s feed people first.”

Yury Barannik wants the city’s Lenin statue removed (Simon Kruse)

Yury Barannik does not agree. An artist, he is curator of the ironically named Lenin modern art gallery on a street corner by the statue.

“Lenin was a criminal, he wrote orders for executions,” he says. “If there was debate and people of the communist generation repented and admitted they were wrong then perhaps we could do without a law to remove all this. But they won’t.”

To ease the process of getting rid of Lenin Mr Barannik has been holding workshops where students sketch alternatives for his vacated square: a swimming pool, a concert hall, a Superman statue and a marble toilet.

At the hydro-electric plant, Viktor Kucher, its general director, is tight lipped. Inside the turbine hall, a large socialist-realist painting shows senior Bolsheviks opening the dam in 1932.

As a state enterprise, the plant would comply with the new laws and remove its Lenin nameplate and hammer and sickle emblems from the doors if ordered to do so, he says.

Leading the Telegraph on a two-hour excursion of the dam, Mr Kucher preferred to talk about the squirrels and pheasants in its 43-hectare grounds rather than the politics of the past.

“Any change means upset,” he says.

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