Russia, Lenin, And The Battle For Modern Ukraine

Graphic from here.
Graphic from here.

It won’t surprise any long-time readers here that I was not a supporter of the recent “Euromaidan” revolution in Ukraine. I have written on the unconstitutionality of the election of President Poroshenko (this article landed my blog on the Google News homepage!), a follow-up to that article, an epic article by a former Czech president concerning Ukraine, and maybe some more stuff I’m forgetting. I appeared on the BBC earlier this year, in February, to provide a counterpoint to the plethora of Euromaidan supporters interviewed. And yes, I have a recording of the interview, which I’ve been meaning to upload for a while.

Given all those facts, you’ll probably be surprised to know that there’s one consequence of the “Euromaidan revolution” that I heartily support: the destruction of Lenin statues. Lenin statues are an unfortunate remnant left over from Soviet rule. I traveled throughout European Russia five years ago and only saw one statue (plus the creepy mausoleum on Red Square). I’ve only been to one city in Ukraine (Kiev) and I didn’t see a single statue there. However, both Russia and Ukraine are vast countries, and I’m sure I missed out on many statues simply because there wasn’t time to go to cities that have them.

Lenin statues are a disgrace because Lenin was a blight on European history. Few people have wreaked more havoc, sowed more destruction, and caused intense misery to such large numbers of people. I never was a Lenin supporter, even when I was taught a mildly positive view in school, and I think everyone should read Dmitri Volkogonov’s magnificent biography of the man.

Anyway, anti-Russian Ukrainians are tearing down these statues as a symbol of protest against Russian rule. These people want to be free to choose a “European path” free of that nasty Putin’s overbearing Russian influence, the media tells us. Yet the ironic thing about Ukrainians’ dislike for Lenin is that Lenin was actually the founder of modern Ukraine. Here’s an excellent article on Russia Insider concerning Lenin and Ukraine:

Lenin was a founding father of modern Ukraine. He created Ukraine as a republic which has kept its current borders (minus Western Ukraine and few other regions). He gave away the territory of Novorossiya, which historically never belonged to Ukraine.

Later, the Soviet leader Khrushchev gave a similar present to Ukraine – Russian Crimea.

[…]

Some would argue that Stalin is guilty for the perversion of Soviet system and that if Lenin remained alive it would be different story. The truth of the matter is that Stalin did not think up anything that was not there under Lenin: mass executions, hostage taking, gulags (Soviet style concentration camps) and all the rest.

The article is much longer and quite good, so go read it. It goes on to list the numerous bad things Lenin did for Russia: coldblooded murder of the Tsar’s family, giving away territory to end Russian participation in World War I, outright stealing of property that did not belong to him, murder of people just because he had the power to kill them, and more.

I’m also going to bookmark that Russia Insider website, as it looks quite interesting.

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