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Lenin's Bulging Head

The thousands of Lenin statues dotted around Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union have experienced mixed fates.

Many were demolished, some vanished, and others were erected elsewhere or exhibited in museums.

Estonia dumped its supposedly last Lenin in the eastern city of Narva in the backyard of Herrmann Castle. Berlin has recently decided to place the 3.5 ton head of its largest Lenin in a museum (it had been buried in a sand pit on the outskirts of the city). Perhaps the quirkiest collection of Lenin statues can be found in Grutas park in Lithuania. And in Russia, one statue was recently reerected on its former pedestal in St. Petersburg after damage suffered in a bomb blast.

However, the residents of Sukleia -- a village close to Tiraspol, the capital of Moldova’s breakaway region of Transdniester -- want to keep their Lenin, so much so they got it restored.

But they were a little put out to discover that the restored head was significantly larger; in fact, so large some were concerned that Lenin’s trademark cap might not fit. With April 22, the 140th anniversary of Lenin's birth, fast appoaching, there wasn't enough time to have it revamped once more. So, for now, they're stuck with it.

Dostoyevsky said that beauty would save the world. A recent Foreign Policy photo essay on the ugliest statues in world -- among them those of Stalin, former Turkmen leader Saparmurat Niyazov, Genghis Khan, or Peter the Great -- made the point that there sometimes is a connection between bad art and bad politics. It seems the world might have to wait a few more years for its savior.

-- Fabian Burkhardt

Lenin Stands Firm In Kyiv
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(WATCH: Lenin stands firm in Ukraine)

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Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at

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