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Thread: A real curiosity

  1. #1
    Buddha_Bob Guest

    A real curiosity

    Hello Site. I have a question that I hope is taken in the spirit it was intended. While it may sound a bit critical I really would like to know.

    Why are there still so many monuments to communism here in Moscow?

    I have seen five statues of Lenin. A Hammer and Sickle Icon, and countless Star Emblems.

    My thought on this was that Russians would not want to have some many reminders of such a big failure decorating their city. Is that not how Russians see it?

    Not to make an unfair comparison, but can you imagine if Berlin were still decorated with Swastikas and Statues of Hitler? It would seem totally innaproprite. So why the homage to Lenin and the Hammer and Sickle?

    Can people give their opinions. Especially Russians. Maybe I am not looking at it correctly.

  2. #2
    mokliak Guest

    Lots of reasons

    Buddha Dude...

    There are a lot of reasons why I think the ugly reminders of the past remain in Moscow. (They are in St Pete too, by the way)

    First, politics. The Duma still has a decent percentage of Communists. Their power seems to be diminishing gradually...but they do still have some power.

    Second, public awareness. Many Russians learned history only as it was taught by the official state doctrine. Ask the typical Russian about Lenin and you hear about how he was the father of their nation. He has an almost diefied persona. To be fair ask the typical American about our founding fathers and you will get a rather romaniticized view as well.
    Just as not too many Americans talk about how our founders owned slaves, were frequently unfaithful, and exploited the land to make their own fortunes...many people in Russia do not talk about Lenin's mental illness, his personal joy in watching executions, or the sheer number of jews, priests, and dissodents he order eliminated. To them he is still their hero.

    Also along with awareness is the people's understanding of the Cold War. Most Russians do not have an understaning that they were actually in a protracted military conflict with the western world...let alone comprehend the idea that they LOST. To them Lenin is not the symbol of their defeat. They do not even realize that they were defeated!

    Third, economics. This is a country that has a weaker economic base than 70 percent of the world's countries. California alone is wealthier and economically more viable than all of Russia. They simply can't afford to spend millions remodeling their city. Maybe as Russia rebuilds its wealth it will get around to taking down these eyesores. But for now they are worried about new roads, new buildings, new power sttions, etc.

    Finally. I don't think anyone has an idea of how to redecorate. This is not the most original country in the world. In a place that has about 100 million people there are only about 20 differnt names. There are literally millions of Lena's Natasha's, Tatiana's and Oksana's...Creative independence is still a still a ways off.
    They really don't have any idea of how to replace the statues unless someone tells them what to put.

    That is my thoughts anyway. I am curious to see what others think

  3. #3
    Jet's Avatar
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    Read some more about Russia, Budha-man, and you will find out that the red star is still the official emblem on the Russian military hardware, Su-27/Mig-29 etc. Don't ever compare red stars with swastikas, fool.
    "Сейчас мы его с левого фланга нае..м!" (С)

  4. #4
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    It's part of the country's history, why take them down? The Soviet Union defeated Hitler so the Nazi-comparison is fatuous, it put the first man in space when U.S. rockets were blowing up at the launch pad and it was one of the most powerful countries in the history of the world. Why does its memmory have to be erased?

  5. #5
    Hermione Guest

    Re: Lots of reasons

    Originally posted by mokliak
    First, politics. The Duma still has a decent percentage of Communists.
    you don't seriously think the jurisdiction of the Federation Council includes the removal of this stuff, do u

    Ask the typical Russian about Lenin and you hear about how he was the father of their nation. He has an almost diefied persona.
    ask a typical university student or graduate about lenin's role in the Russian history and u'll hear quite a rough answer; u don't know what u r speaking about

    To them he is still their hero.
    it would be ridiculous even to comment this nonsense.
    Also along with awareness is the people's understanding of the Cold War. Most Russians do not have an understanding that they were actually in a protracted military conflict with the western world...let alone comprehend the idea that they LOST. To them Lenin is not the symbol of their defeat.
    Historical piece of info for Mokliak smart ass: Churchill’s Fulton speech 1946 (in case u don’t know approximate date of it) is regarded to be the beginning of the cold war. By that time Lenin had been successfully dead for more than 20 years. Thus he has as much relation to the cold war as McDonalds or Iohn Paul II.

    I'll save the site's space and won't comment the rest bullshit about names, the lack of originality and money to build the city in Moscow and would rather give u an advice for the sake of your own originality to speak on the matter when only you know at least something about it not to sound stupid and ridiculous indeed.

  6. #6
    murbanski Guest
    By that time Lenin had been successfully dead for more than 20 years.
    Is there a way to be "unsuccessfully dead"?

    Just teasing, Hermiona.

    Good post.

    M.

  7. #7
    DaveUK1965 Guest
    You may also say "Why is there so much talk of renaming Volgograd to Stalingrad", Mok.

    The point is - as you ably demonstrate with every single post, you have NO idea about Russia or Russian history, or, for that matter, Russians.

    You don`t seem so hot about the 1917 - 91 period, either.

    Let`s face facts, Mok: you`re in a different country but still at home, and you seem to think that "your lot" won something - and now the other side should play fair, give in and you should just tell `em all what to do.

    How is it that most of the other US posters on the board LIKE being in Russia ? Are they doing something wrong as well ?

  8. #8
    DaveUK1965 Guest

    Re: A real curiosity

    Bob, a little about monuments in Russia, yes ? ;-)))

    OK, firstly, you have to comprehend that for 75 years, Russia was a communist state - I`m sure you do, I`m sure that has some pretty negative connotations for you, but you have to remember that preceding that communist state was 1500 years of repressive feudalism. I am not speaking as a communist, socialist or anything - ist: the point is that in 1905 and 1917 the situation was so repressive and terrible that there were revolutions in an attempt to get rid of the system extant at the time, and (theoretically) Russia belonged to "the people" at the time.

    I hear a lot of comments about "democracy" - theoretically, communist Russia WAS a democracy - "rule by the people" - in this case, the "proletariat". Of course, this wasn`t the case - is it ever ? ;-))))))) Look at the city states of Ancient Greece - the first democracies - they weren`t very democratic, either. ;-)))

    Well. As we know, any system tends to have its` own icons, whether they`re flags, national anthems..... political posters... or statues. You`ve compared a hammer and sickle to Nazi symbology - may SEEM like that to you, but you have to remember that`s part of your cultural upbringing - to regard communism as "the enemy" and a hammer and sickle to be a sign of total repression.

    Yep, there WAS a lot of repression in Russia. More so than in the West, that`s for sure. But. The 1917-91 period was NOT about total repression. There was a system in Russia. It worked. After a fashion. But. The point is that people lead their entire lives under that system - in steel mills, offices, mines, factories.... and most people of the older generation had some pride in living under that system. Up until the late sixties, to an extent, the system WAS working - the State DID provide most things - admittedly not to the same standard as in the West, but what you can see around you now hearkens back - in a lot of ways - to the ideology of that system.

    You can not expect people to eradicate all traces of the past, and the assumption that that past was a wholly unhappy or shameful one is just.... wrong, Bob. Russians are a people very conscious of their history. Some elements of that history are not fully explained to the Russian people - we have a different version in the West - sometimes our version is wrong, too. ;-)))))

    But to assume that people lived brainwashed by propaganda for 75 years is..... fallacious. In was a consentual affair.

    As for the old Cold Warriors on this board, well, sorry, the West didn`t WIN the Cold War - Russia economically collapsed from within. The slide had been on for years. But. There was a lot to be proud of for Russians under the old days, and the system - to a point - certainly worked better than it does now.

    As for statues and icons. Well. As Hermiona says, Lenin is still regarded as forming a massive part of Russian history - and he DOES. Western observers see Lenin as a ranting madman refusing to pay the loans payable to the West in 1917 (mainly owed to France - who then pursued a hostile policy of agitation against him - UK was neutral, so was the US - initially - until the idea of "exportable revolution came along (best left out of this post) ) - for Russians, Lenin was the architect for a departure from 1500+ years of feudalism. We all see things from the point of view of our own perspective. The perspectives are different, Bob.

    To understand Russia - you HAVE to understand the history of a country which was hardly industrialised in 1917, ruled by a near - absolute monarch - which then endured civil war AND lost 27,000,000 of it`s citizens in 1941-45. It`s not the US, it`s not Europe, it is a totally different place: one of the few places in the world with such a ***different*** historical and cultural legacy.

    And you can not wipe out histroy, and in some cases it`s better not to. That`s why the statues are there.

    Dave

    PS There`s a statue of Arthur "Bomber" Harris in London. Man who organised RAF bomber command during WW2. The man was a maniac who caused the unnecessary death of German citizens during WW2 - he kept bombing after there was no reasonable justification to do so.... recently the Enola Gay was put on display in the US . How would a German and a Japanese view such Western Icons, Bob ? How would an ANZAC - who were butchered in their thousands because of tactical mistakes at Gallipoli during the first world war view a statue of Winston Churchill, who "masterminded" the whole campaign ????

    There`s always another side to the coin. Have a look at your yin/yang avatar, Bob... there`s your answer. ;-))))

  9. #9
    Hermione Guest

    I am shocked

    Ni hrena sebe zadvinul!!!
    Dave, when do u get your time to read all this stuff!! I am bewildered....

  10. #10
    DaveUK1965 Guest
    Heheee -

    4 years European History at University
    3 years engaged to a Russian lady
    Wanted to go to see Russia since I was 11 (27 years ago)
    so I did a LOT of reading.

    ... well, I have to have something to do with my time, Hermiona. ;-)))))

    And the end result is that I now feel more at home in Russia than I do here in England. ;-)))))))))))))


    Dave ;-))))

  11. #11
    DaveUK1965 Guest
    Bob, quick question to get you thinking -

    Which is better ? A country ruled by an absolute monarch ? Or a country ruled by an absolute dictator ? ;-)))

    Answer: neither.

    There`s been an element of people holding up pictures of Tsar Nicholas II like icons, recently, yearning for the return of the "good old days".

    When you read the history books, there weren`t any good old days, then, either. ;-)) History records Nicholas II as a very flawed Tsar - better than most, but with a total lack of comprehension about the lives of his NORMAL subjects, many of whom suffered terribly under his autocratic rule. He also bowed to pressure to form the Duma.... the first Russian parliament ... in 1905.....

    .... Russia first had a parliamentary system in 1905, you`ll note.....

    ... and then arbitrarily shut it down time and time and time again when it didn`t agree with him. Just like our Charles 1st did, whose head WE incidentally chopped off. (People keep going on about the French revolution - we beat `em to it by a hundred years here in the UK.)

    So. If there was a statue of Nicholas II erected in say, St Petersburg, would you look it and say, "Aha, ideologically GOOD statue, but that one of Lenin over there is ideologically BAD ? "

    It`s not the art or the icon which is everything - it`s the object AND the observer. You`re just not looking at it with Russian eyes - with the same sense of historical and social comprehension, Bob. ;-)))))

    Everyone is very fond of quoting Tyuchev - "Russia cannot be understood with the mind alone."

    Don`t worry, it`s all ***normalniiy***. ;-))))))))))

    Dave ;-)))

  12. #12
    Jet's Avatar
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    Dave, I am with you, man!
    "Сейчас мы его с левого фланга нае..м!" (С)

  13. #13
    DaveUK1965 Guest
    ;-) Cheers, mate ! ;-)

    Thing is.... you can not understand the present in Russia without looking very hard at the past, can you ?

    The past is Russia`s heritage and also a key to its` future. It is not the most peaceful or happy of past histories, but it`s also one of great achievements, great sacrifice - there is not another history even remotely like it in the world and it`s Russia`s heritage.

    I heard once that directly after the reforms some idiot came up with a plan to cut the heads off all statues of Lenin and Stalin and replace them with ones of modern "social icons" - save money, keep the body.

    You don`t throw a cloth over history and heritage and tradition because it`s momentarily politically embarassing. And. It is very comforting to see Russians are so aware of their historical background, their literature, their artists, poets, writers - because that is what MAKES someone Russian. The understanding of what Russia - and being Russian - is.

    Doesn`t matter if the heating doesn`t come on or you`re being hassled by a GAI-nik. This is your home, your country, your culture, your history, your traditions - and that knowledge and sense of being and belonging will get you through the bad times.

    We got bombed to hell in 1940 by Nazi Germany. Listen to some of Churchills` speeches for an idea of what being English is about. ;-)))

    "I am convinced that every man of you would rise up and tear me down from my place if I were for one moment to contemplate parley or surrender. If this long island story of ours is to end at last, let it end only when each one of us lies choking in his own blood upon the ground."

    Not hollow rhetoric.

    I am very proud to be English. I know many people who are proud to be Russian. And. Russia`s past - as well as her future - belongs to Russia - and Russians. No one else.

  14. #14
    Jet's Avatar
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    You see, what I resent most is the notion of collective guilt that is bestowed upon Russia and Russians today. No one ever thinks about reminding constantly the Germans that they gased millions of people once, but many people (westerners) are very quick to refer to dark red past when they try to explain Russia to themselves.
    "Сейчас мы его с левого фланга нае..м!" (С)

  15. #15
    DaveUK1965 Guest
    We can blame the Mongols for Genghis Khan and the Transylvanians for Vlad the impaler, the Germans for Hitler, the Japanese for Manchukuoko and none of it makes any sense at all. There is no guilt which can be put on the Russian people: the Russian people are some of the kindest and most hospitable in the world - Russian leaders ? A different story. ;-)))

    But with history, it takes two to tango. The Cold War was not fought with one side - the USSR - alone. There were, as I remember, several players. All of whom thought they were right.

    Misguided individuals speaking for their "countrymen" - if their countrymen had all just gone and sat down and had a tea or a coffee or a beer or a vodka together, the world would have been a happier place.

    Mok - last word - everyone everywhere is essentially the SAME.

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