Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Petersburg Residents More Upset by Memorials to Yeltsin and Sobchak than Those to Lenin and Dzerzhinsky, Poll Shows

Paul Goble

            Staunton, July 13 – Only five or six percent of residents of the northern capital want to see statues to Lenin and his secret police chief Dzerzhinsky taken down, but a share five times greater than that would like to see memorials to Boris Yeltsin and Anatoly Sobchak removed from their city.

            At the present time, Russia has not been infected with the disease of wanting to remove statues for ideological reasons; but if it is, the Gorod-812 portal says the poll shows, “the first to suffer will not be monuments to Lenin and other Bolsheviks but to those involved with perestroika” (gorod-812.ru/pamyatniki-elczinu-i-sobchaku-razdrazhayut-bolshe/).

            The portal surveyed 2435 residents of the city about what they would like to do with statues there.  Thirty-eight percent said none of them needed to be taken out saying that “the monuments are our history.” Those to figures from the Bolshevik period no longer agitate anyone, the survey showed; but monuments to those from the 1990s do.

            Six percent said they would pull down Lenin statues, five percent those of Dzerzhinsky, and four percent all revolutionary leaders. But 25 percent said they would like to see removed any memorials to Boris Yeltsin, and 28 percent said the same about former city leader Anatoly Sobchak. 

            As far as monuments to pre-1917 Russian leaders are concerned, no more than one percent favored taking them down, and six percent said that they favored adopting the following principle: ugly statues should be taken down while beautiful ones should be kept around, the survey found.

            And some suggested that when talking about statues already up, Russians should be led to reflect on who among current leaders might be so honored, given that their reputations might change as much as Lenin’s or Yeltsin’s. 

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