Farting on Lenin
…and some notes on nationalism in the Soviet Union.
There’s a photo going around Russian Telegram channels of the Giant Lenin Head monument in Ulan-Ude, Buryatia — that now has a flag of the Russian Empire with a Z affixed to its base. If you needed one photo to encapsulate the confused political messaging sloshing around Russian culture these days in support of this war…this is pretty much it. Add to this the fact that Putin, in announcing his “special operation” in Ukraine back in February, blamed Lenin for the whole thing and, well, you start to get the picture.
Now I’m no Lenin scholar but even with my own limited knowledge it’s pretty clear that Lenin probably wouldn’t be happy with this whole Z business. I mean, his pedestal is draped with the flag of the fucking Russian Empire — the state he spent his life fighting and then helped topple. I mean, his brother tried to blow up the Tsar and decided to hang rather than ask for forgiveness. Lenin’s whole life after that was a life of revenge for his brother’s death, a death he ultimately avenged. Now this flag is draped over his statue, as if Lenin would support a government that sees itself as a direct inheritor of Imperial Russia. It’s just so absurd.