Dosvidaniya, Vladimir.

One less iconic image for tourists to take pictures of when they visit Ulaanbaatar, with this statue removal. The reports say that this is the last Lenin statue in the city, but it’s certainly not the last one standing in Mongolia.

Darkhan, north of Ulaanbaatar, has a few Lenins here and there, and a gallery in the Darkhan Museum is replete with¬† original paintings by Mongolian artists illustrating an imaginary visit to confer with Mongol leaders. Darkhan is closer to the Russian border, and Russian coverage of the removal of the last Lenin in UB isn’t terribly cheerful. I think our Lenins will be sticking around for a while.

Video of the removal of the statue is included in the BBC coverage of the story. Throwing of shoes is a pretty serious insult in Mongolia. Just letting the soles of shoes on your feet touch someone else, can spark a brawl without a prompt apology, so chucking old shoes at the downed Lenin was a strong sentiment of disapproval. The Soviet Union saved Mongolia from being consumed by China, and for decades it was one of the only nations to recognize Mongolia’s sovereignty, but it came at a terrible price. The Cyrillic alphabet, and the wreckage of monasteries and temples all across the country are two prominent reminders of seventy years of a complicated live-in relationship.

Lenin is going up for auction — legally, not like stolen dinosaur bones.¬† Starting bid is under $300, a good price for the budget-conscious bourgeois historical artifact collector.

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