Ukraine tears down giant Lenin statue, live on YouTube

Thu Mar 17, 2016 11:16am EDT
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By Alessandra Prentice

KIEV (Reuters) - Exhaustive efforts to tear down Ukraine's largest remaining monument to Vladimir Lenin bore fruit on Thursday when workers prised the late Soviet leader's statue from its plinth in the southeastern city of Zaporizhzhya.

Since a pro-Western uprising ousted a Russia-backed president in 2014, Ukraine has passed laws aimed at severing the former Soviet republic from its communist past - a move some have criticized as an attempt to erase history.

Nearly 1,000 statues of Lenin have been removed since anti-government protesters tore down his Kiev monument in late 2013, but the 20-metre (66 ft) size of the Zaporizhzhya monument frustrated multiple attempts to pull it down this week.

"It would be easy to demolish it: place an explosive, blow it up and everything, but to take it down carefully and transport it to a storage place for totalitarian statues needs more care," a spokeswoman for the local mayor's office said.

"The papers on how it was built are all in Moscow, so it's being taken down with a method of trial and error," she said. "Relations aren't so friendly at the moment that they (Russian authorities) would reply quickly to a query."

The 60-year-old bronze statue, which depicts the Russian revolutionary holding one arm aloft, was finally brought to the ground by a crane after workers loosened its base.

Pro-Ukrainian activists had previously made fun of the monument by dressing Lenin in a traditional Ukrainian embroidered shirt and the national soccer team's yellow jersey.

A webcam broadcasting live footage of the statue's removal attracted thousands of views.   Continued...

A monument to Soviet state founder Vladimir Lenin is decorated by unidentified people with the Ukrainian traditional shirt containing elements of the national ethnic embroidery, in the southeastern city of Zaporizhzhya, Ukraine, in this October 4, 2014 file photo. Picture taken October 4, 2014.  REUTERS/Stringer/Files