Another monument to Lenin, this time in Chernihiv region, has been vandalized - shot down to be precise. Police is investigating the case as criminal, according to the article 296, paragraph 4 of the Criminal code of Ukraine.

Quite a few similar cases have been registered over the last years, and not all of them are spontaneous. Last winter, for example, followers of "Freedom" party headed by MP Ihor Myroshnychenko destroyed a monument to Lenin in Akhtyrka city of Sumy region. Even the monument to Lenin in the center of Kyiv suffered "injuries", after which Communist party established 24-hour watch. Memorial signs to OUN-UPA also get their share: the case of vandalism have become more frequent in western Ukraine, and this or that left-wing organization often claim responsibility for destruction. In 2010, vandals "attacked" the trident, erected on Hoverla mountain.

The war on monuments, though, is not the latest thing, but has existed since perestroika, when "democratically spirited" masses started destroying monuments of soviet era.  However, Lenins are still many all around former USSR and "destructive trend" continues.

ForUm has asked experts and politicians whether such behavior is an echo of democratization and a result of modern political heat or a banal degradation of social morality. 

Stanislav Kulchinski, Doctor of Historical Sciences, vice principal of the Institute of history of Ukraine's Academy of Science:

- How can I estimate the fact that people fight monuments? Anyway, war on stone is better than war on people.

The question is whether there are grounds for a civil war. In my opinion there are none. What we have is pure manipulation of public opinion by some irresponsible politicians, no matter be they communists or nationalists. They just sidetrack people's attention from economic problems and invent ideological problems. Politicians always remember about elections and try to boost their popularity with any means possible.

However, I believe people will get used to such behavior and will stop react to provocations.

Mykhailo Chechetov, member of the parliamentary committee on industrial and investment police, Party of Regions faction:

- I remember cases when vandals attacked monuments to warrior of the Great Patriotic War, warriors who beat fascism and saved the world. If not for them, neither Ukraine, nor Europe would have existed now. So, how can someone trench on sacred?

In Russia, for example, there are monuments to tsars - tyrants. People scold those tsars, but keep  the monuments. They say, it is a part of their history.

In my opinion, vandals are spiritually weak people, who act on animal aggression. Only moral morons can fight monuments and history.

Mykhailo Fryziuk, psychologist, psychotherapist:

- Nowadays vandalism is not a manifestation of psychological state, but well-thought-out political actions. When a person is not happy with something or someone, he is supposed to come forward and express his anger. When it is forbidden, dangerous and punishable people seek other means to express their position, so they may attack idea, monument or something like that. However, such events are rare nowadays. Modern destructions are planned actions.

We need to think about protection of monuments and reflect on the reasons of people's unhappiness. Monuments are not only political symbols, but also an art objects. However, it may happen that vandalizing a monument a person just wants to improve his self-esteem to tell friends "I am cool, I did it".

Ihor Myroshnychenko, MP of "Freedom" faction, deputy head of the parliamentary committee on freedom of speech and information:

- For the last century Ukrainian people have got tired of Lenin and communism. When I was holding a meeting with voters in Akhtyrka, they reminded me about a promise to start decommunization of country. Monuments to Lenin are desecration of millions of Ukrainians. There are still so many monuments left, but we will do everything possible to make them disappear.

"Freedom" will appeal to local councils to liquidate such monuments. Some local governments are afraid that similar decision will be unpopular among the population, but I am telling you the majority of people know that these monuments are wrongful.

Vitaly Kulik, head of the Research Center for civil society problems:

- The problem of vandalism demonstrates that moral and ethnic norms are getting weaker and no longer followed by the society. Instead, we have a permissive society. Moreover, low living standards of the population aggravate the situation and provoke people into disruptive behavior, like shooting monuments, "mining" railway stations or swearing in public.

Attempts to justify such behavior by public dislike of certain historical figures is not correct explanation. We can discuss historical and cultural value of numerous Lenins all over former USSR, but vandalism is hardly a healthy way to express a political position. 

Evhen Leshan, political expert:

- The state of civic culture in Ukraine reminds a mean anti-utopia by some western author. There used to be a great country, but now only some artifacts have left of it. Survivors, some wild tribes, continue living on its territory, but destroy its heritage. Anti-utopia, moral decadency, stagnation...

Moreover, attacks on soviets monuments should not be compared with attacks on OUN-UPA monuments, as the latter are monuments to bandits - also the result of barbarizing.


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