Finnish City Takes Down Lenin Statue Over Ukraine Conflict
© SputnikVladimir Lenin in a car before leaving from Red Square on the Day of International Workers' Solidarity 1 May 1919
As the head of Soviet Russia, Vladimir Lenin had previously been celebrated as the first national leader to recognise the independent Finnish state that arose following the October Revolution of 1917 and the disintegration of the Russian Empire.
Authorities in the city of Turku, the former capital of Finland, have said they will remove a statue of Russian revolutionary, politician and philosopher Vladimir Lenin due to Russia's special operation in Ukraine.
The Lenin bust located in central Turku in front of the Turku Art Museum will will be removed “as soon as possible” alongside the accompanying plaque reading “V.I. Lenin visited this house while fleeing tsarist Russia in 1907”.
According to Turku Mayor Minna Arve of the liberal-conservative National Coalition Party, she made the decision following repeated public and media discussions about the statue in light of the conflict in Ukraine.
Turku City noted on its website that the Lenin bust became “a symbol of political division” even before Russia's special operation to demilitarise Ukraine and support the beleaguered People's Republics of Donbass, which Finland, in line with most of the West, views as “invasion”.
In recent years, the statue was seen as increasingly controversial and has been defaced several times.
The statue was made by prominent Soviet sculptor Mikhail Anikushin, and has been on display in the centre of Turku since 1977; it was a gift to the city from its twin, Leningrad (now St. Petersburg).
The statue belongs to the art collection of the City of Turku and after its removal it will be kept in the storage facilities of the city's museum services unit.
22 April 2020, 17:56 GMT
Lenin, one of the leaders of the October Revolution, is also credited as one of the architects of Finnish independence.
Finland became an autonomous Grand Duchy of the Russian Empire after being conquered from Sweden in 1809 and was an important part of the Russian defence system, with the city of Helsinki being the base of the Baltic Fleet, tasked with warding off possible attacks on the imperial capital, Saint Petersburg.
Finland’s independence was only made possible by the Russian Revolution of 1917 and was not immediately recognised by other European states. The Bolshevik government led by Vladimir Lenin was the first to recognise the new state.