Monument to Lenin at Lenin Square

As we continue our tour of the most prominent monuments in Nizhny Novgorod, we come to the Lenin Monument on Lenin Square. Vladimir Lenin, who needs no introduction, was revered by the Soviet state, as evidenced by the plethora of monuments to Lenin that were erected in nearly every town across the Soviet Union, and by the renaming of streets. Nizhny Novgorod also has its own “Lenin Prospekt”, as well as the working class “Leninsky District” near this monument. This enormous statue was commissioned to commemorate the centennial anniversary of the birth of Vladimir Lenin in 1970. Construction began in 1969, and the final product is the result of a joint effort between loсal elements and a Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) factory.

Local legend states that on the day of its unveiling, April 19th, 1970, the ceremony was marred by torrential rains. The statue was hidden under a tarp for the unveiling, which as to take place in front of representatives from every labor collective in the city. Being an enormous statue, the tarp was also rather large, and the accumulation of rainwater made it next to impossible to remove. The story goes that the local Communist party apparatchiks struggled to pull the huge tarp down, ultimately succeeding amongst curses and shouts. The finished product included not only a massive statue of Lenin, but also statues of a worker with a hammer and sickle, two Red Army soldiers carrying a banner, and a statue of a woman (who perhaps symbolized liberty?) supporting the banner.

The Square is still the site of demonstrations on Labor Day and October Revolution Day. It is located on the embankment of the Oka river, one of the two rivers that flow in Nizhny Novgorod. As a result, the square is a good starting location to explore the area west of the Oka. There are numerous hotels surrounding the square, as well as several floating restaurants and street vendors. The risk-reward of eating at the latter will be covered in a later post. Perhaps most notable for vacation purposes, the square is also the meeting point of several tour buses for day trips to other cities in the region, such as Kazan. These will also be covered in a subsequent post.

When in Nizhny Novgorod, one cannot miss seeing this relic of the Soviet past, especially since most of these statues have been dismantled across the former Soviet Union.


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