On December 8th, protesters in Kiev toppled their city’s main statue of Vladimir Lenin and pummeled it “into chips” with sledgehammers.
According to The New York Times, angry protesters pounded the statue “into chips… as a crowd chanted and cheered.”
The protests began when “hundreds of thousands” of Ukrainians took to the streets of Kiev on Sunday. Their original intent may have been peaceful, as they initially heard speeches and listened to music. However, they soon spread out and began erecting barricades in the political district of the city.
Sunday’s protests are a continuation of those begun on November 21st after President Viktor F. Yanukovich “refused… to sign trade and political agreements with the European Union.” These agreements were seen as an affirmation of Ukrainian identity and were hoped to lighten Ukraine’s economic crisis. The protests have escalated since they began, and the toppling of Lenin’s statue in Kiev marks their apex to date.
Many other Ukrainian statues of Lenin have been pulled down throughout the years in an increasing rejection of the “Soviet communism that crushed [the] nation with famine.” The action is also symbolic of frustration over the role modern Russia has played in blocking deals with the EU.
The statue in Kiev stood until December 8, 2013.
The statue was toppled “using cables and cranks,” and police did not try to stop its fall. One onlooker said, “People were waiting for this for decades, now it has finally happened.”
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