Littérature

Looking for Lenin

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In the process of decommunisation, Ukraine has toppled all its Lenin monuments. The authors have hunted down and photographed these banned Soviet statues, revealing their inglorious fate.

In the process of decommunisation, Ukraine has toppled all its Lenin monuments. Photographer Niels Ackermann and Journalist Sébastien Gobert have hunted down and photographed these banned Soviet statues, revealing their inglorious fate. As Russia celebrates the 100th anniversary of the Bolshevik revolution, Ukraine struggles to achieve complete decommunization. Perhaps the most dramatic demonstration of this process is the phenomenon of Leninopad (Lenin-fall)―the toppling of Lenin statues. In 2015 the Ukrainian parliament passed legislation banning these monuments as symbols of the obsolete Soviet regime. From an original population of 5500 in 1991, today not a single Lenin statue remains standing in Ukraine. The authors, both based in Kyiv, have scoured the country in search of the remains of these toppled figures. They found them in the most unlikely of places: Lenin inhabits gardens, scrap yards and store rooms. He has fallen on hard times―cut into pieces; daubed with paint in the colors of the Ukrainian flag; transformed into a Cossack or Darth Vader―but despite these attempts to reduce their status, the statues retain a sinister quality, resisting all efforts to separate them from their history. These compelling images are combined with witness testimonies to form a unique insight, revealing how Ukrainians perceive their country, and how they are grappling with the legacy of their Soviet past to conceive a new vision of the future.

Pictures by: Niels Ackermann / Lundi13
Texts by: Sébastien Gobert
Preface by: Myroslava Hartmond
Cover idea from Paul Cartron
Published by FUEL Design & Publishing

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« I am one of You »: Who is « You »? The selective extension of dual citizenship provisions in Lithuania

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« Because of historical upheavals and economic turmoil, about one-fourth of the Lithuanian ethno-nation is scattered across the world. Such a dispersion has played a significant role in the reshaping of an independent citizenry after Lithuania recovered independence in 1990. After the 1989 adoption of a so-called “zero-option” citizenship law, that is the granting of citizenship to all permanent residents on the territory, further legal developments of the citizenship framework, namely in terms of dual citizenship, have marked a certain selective « re-ethnicization of membership », to use Christian Joppke’s expression. In this respect, the (re)definition of an ethno-national feeling of belonging disconnected from residency has proved crucially central. The political treatment of the question has been denounced as confusing and inconsistent and has been at the core of a long-lasting political and legal controversy. Issues of post-communist transition, minority protection, diaspora politics and diplomatic relations have been at stake in redefining a national citizenry in Lithuania. The implications of such a political process bear lessons for the future of European integration. »

Sébastien Gobert, LAP LAMBERT Academic Publishing, February 2012. 

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