News / Europe

Communist Symbol Ban Spreads Among Russia’s Neighbors

Bans on Communist Symbols Spread Through Russia’s Neighborsi
|| 0:00:00
X
James Brooke
August 16, 2012
The countries and regions around the edges of the old Soviet Union are banning communist symbols -- hammers and sickles and five pointed starts. James Brooke reports from Western Ukraine on the growing symbol gap between Russians and their neighbors.
TEXT SIZE - +
LVIV, Ukraine — In Lviv, Western Ukraine nationalists fought last year to block communists from bringing red flags to the city’s World War II Hill of Glory.  This year, Lviv banned all public displays of Communist and Nazi symbols.

The ban on hammers and sickles and swastikas follows similar bans in the Baltics, in Georgia, and in much of Eastern Europe.  Moldova implements its ban on October 1.

In front of Lviv’s Opera House, where a statue of Lenin once stood, there is now a fountain. And near the railroad station, where there was once a fountain, there is now a statue to the late Stepan Bandera, a leader of the anti-Soviet Organization of Ukrainian nationalists.

"The new monuments that we see being built are monuments to the national heroes, who are viewed as heroes here, who were fighting the Soviet Union," said Sergiy Kudelia, a political scientist in Lviv.

But in Moscow, there are 93 statues and busts of Lenin.  From their side of the history divide, many Russians say the Soviet Union was a force for progress.

Alexander, who makes a living impersonating Lenin for tourists visiting Red Square, says Ukraine developed economically and culturally as part of the Soviet Union. He says that only Ukrainian nationalists oppose communist symbols.

Back in Lviv, magazine editor Taras Voznyak retorts that Russians cannot shed their imperial world view:  He says modern Russia sees itself as the successor to the Russian Empire and the Soviet Empire.  Ukraine, he says, always played a subordinate role to Moscow and can not see itself as a successor to the Soviet Union.

In the latest clash of historical views, the Kremlin financed "The Match," a new Russian-language movie about Soviet resistance in Ukraine to the Nazis. Ukrainian nationalists tried to have it banned in May because all Ukrainian speakers were shown as Nazi collaborators.

The former mayor of Lviv, Vasil Kuibida, charges the 1930s Soviet-era famine, or "Holodomor," easily killed as many people as Nazi wartime atrocities in Ukraine:  He says more than 10 million Ukrainians died in the famine and millions more were executed or deported to labor camps in Siberia.

In turn, some Russians charge that many Western Ukrainians are soft on fascism.

James Brooke

A foreign correspondent who has reported from five continents, Brooke, known universally as Jim, is the Voice of America bureau chief for Russia and former Soviet Union countries. From his base in Moscow, Jim roams Russia and Russia’s southern neighbors.

You May Like

Multimedia Relatives of South Korean Ferry Victims Fire at Authorities

36 people are confirmed dead, but some 270 remain trapped on board More

War Legacy Haunts Vietnam, US Relations

$84 million project aims to clean up soil contaminated by Agent Orange More

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: curt from: USA
August 17, 2012 10:32 PM
In Eastern Europe during the early 1990's I remember seeing statues of prominent communists, Lenin, Stalin and such, painted so that they looked like they clowns or vagrants. My regret is I never took a photo of them.


by: Mike from: California
August 17, 2012 6:14 PM
There are many kinds of censorship. Take California for instance: If a person "violates" the rule of political correctness, the media, politicians, and social activists will all attack you. Even the state government may get involved. Usually these topics have to do with race, gender issues, sex, and immigration. Regardless of a person's position on these issues, they should be free to express those positions but they are not allowed to. Recently, Facebook postings have been castigated in the media by the Thought Police.

At one time it was illegal in U.S. slave-states to make anti-slavery statements. We are not that far away from outlawing other forms of speech.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid