Russia: Pointing Lenin Statue
Vladimir Iliych Lenin was one of the most sculpted persons in the twentieth century, with statues standing in dozens of countries in and around the “Iron Curtain” of Soviet and Eastern Bloc States. Due to their political controversy, many of the statues in communist countries were destroyed, removed, or moved to a different location in the 1990’s. Of the remaining statues, many were protected by elders who stood guard over them until the revolutionary spirit died down. Over fifteen years later, protesters still meet to make efforts to have Lenin statues removed.
The most famous Lenin statue stands, arm pointing out, just outside of the Finland Rail Terminal in Saint Petersburg. It was built to commemorate a speech Lenin gave about the history of the October Russian Revolution of 1917. This is the same spot thought to where Lenin jumped into an armored car, and addressed the street after his exile in Switzerland in April of 1917. The Germans sent him back to Russia, and was, in part, responsible for toppling the Tsar and his forces months later.
This larger than life statue sits across the street from the station, in a little park near the Neva River, this area is called Ploshchad Lenina (Lenin Square). The statue was designed to depict Lenin in the midst of his speech. It was created from bonze, and sculpted by Sergei Yevseyev, with help from the architects V. Shchuko and V. Gelfreikh. The dedication of the statue took place in 1926, two years after Lenin died, and the city was renamed from Petrograd to Leningrad.
The station continues to remain a busy site as well as a place of significant historical detail. The orginal station was built in 1870 in Swedish design. It even had a special platform for royal travelers. The railway was owned and run by the Finnish rail service, and was the Easternmost terminus of the Riihimaki (the St. Petersburg Rail Line). The Soviet Authorities took the station over in 1918, were it was shortly destroyed during the siege of Leningrad in WWII. The monolithic building was rebuilt in 1960, including an original portico that managed to survive. The finish government also donated the locomotive that Lenin rode in to the soviets, which now sits in the station museum.
The park, before 2005, was described as a dismal place, but it was recreated, and now included fountains that empty by Lenin’s feet.