News / Europe

Communist Symbol Ban Spreads Among Russia’s Neighbors

James Brooke
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.

You May Like

Tired of Waiting, South Africans Demand Change ‘Now’

With chronic poverty and lack of basic services largely fueling recent xenophobic attacks, many in Rainbow Nation say it’s time for government to act More

Challenges Ahead for China's Development Plans in Pakistan

Planned $46 billion in energy and infrastructure investments in Pakistan are aimed at transforming the country into a regional hub for trade and investment More

Audio 'Forbidden City' Revisits Little Known Era of Asian-American Entertainment

Little-known chapter of entertainment history captured in 80s documentary is revisited in new digitally remastered format and book 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.
Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populationsi
X
April 24, 2015 10:13 PM
A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.

VOA Blogs