“For Lenin, for Stalin”: as in Chernihiv region keep the portraits of leaders
In the center of the city of Novgorod-Seversky of Chernihiv region of Ukraine near the Russian border on the water tower is still preserved mosaic portraits of Soviet leaders Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin.
Local authorities are saving mosaic, established in 1943, and do not respond to the requirements of the Institute of national remembrance to dismantle the portraits. The mayor even says that they attract tourists that want to see a kind of “tower of tyranny”.
At the Institute of naramata insist that the possession of portraits in a public place is a violation of the law “About the condemnation of the Communist and national socialist (Nazi) totalitarian regimes in Ukraine and the prohibition of propaganda of their symbols”. According to this law, adopted in 2015, the streets of all Ukrainian cities and villages had a long time to remove monuments to Communist leaders and Communist symbols.
However, the mayor of the city from the Opposition bloc, Oleh Bondarenko argues that the law is not violated.
Institute against the mayor
In July 2018 Institute of national remembrance has appealed to the Prosecutor and the police with a demand to initiate a criminal case on the fact of public use of symbols of the Communist regime. There insist that the portraits of Stalin and Lenin are just such symbols, and remind them that these people are responsible for the deaths of millions of Ukrainians.
In the police repeatedly asked and local activists demanding to punish the mayor. In November 2017 Institute wrote last official appeal to the mayor, but the mayor claims that these portraits of the Communist symbols are not.
“Tower of tyranny”
In conversation with BBC News Ukraine Oleg Bondarenko assured that dismantle portraits in the city plan:
We don’t endorse these persons, we do not do with them some activities, they just are on the tower, and this is not a call for whatever action. Will not remove portraits.
He says these portraits are history.
“So we attract tourists and draw attention to themselves. No violation of law there,” adds Oleg Bondarenko.
The mayor even came up with the tourist name for the object — “tower of tyranny”.
The city Manager insists that you can move the portraits to the Museum without damaging the tower and a mosaic impossible.
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“Alternatively, I suggested on the granite Board to write down what these bad guys have tortured many millions of people. Or make a stylized bars on the portraits,” — said the mayor of Novgorod-Seversk.
He jokes that the portrait of Stalin is not removed even after the XX Congress of the Communist party, which denounced Stalin’s cult, hinting that in the modern times, mosaic is the “leader of all peoples” will survive.