On June 30th, 2009 -- Five Ukrainian ultra-nationalists used sledge hammers to attack the statue of Lenin in central Kiev.
Created by famed Soviet sculptor Sergey Merkurov for the 1939 New York World's Fair, the statue was carved from red labradorite basalt. In 1946 the statue was mounted in Kiev. After the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991, symbols of that era became targets for Ukrainian nationalism.
Art historian Denis Vertov addresses the historical and cultural legacy of the statue, and what the attacks indicate for the future of Ukraine. This particular statue is considered one of the most artistically significant of all the projects commemorating Lenin and the Soviet Revolution.
After the Ukrainian Communist Party paid for repairs to the sculpture, Lenin reappeared in public in late November 2009 -- immediately provoking skirmishes between supporters and right-wing nationalists.
The red basalt Lenin waits … its future in Ukraine unknown.