In East Ukraine Town Residents Rally in Support of Threatened Lenin Monument

The town of Slavyansk is a former rebel stronghold recaptured by government forces in July, 2014

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Rally in Slavyansk Jan 18, 2015 to save Lenin statue from vigilante destruction

This article originally appeared at New Cold

A citizen rally was held in Slavyansk city, Donetsk region, on January 18 to protect the monument to V.I. Lenin, leader of the Russian Revolution of 1917, that stands in the city center.

They demanded that authorities act to prevent such desecration of Ukraine’s historical monuments.

Students and other residents came to the monument in the city’s central square with posters reading “Lenin will stand.”

Vocational school students held signs saying “protect Lenin”. They chanted these slogans. See the news video below.

'Protect Lenin'

This was the latest in several actions by city residents in reponse to an attempt by extreme-right vandals on January 11 to wreck the monument.

You can view a news video here of the failed attempt of the rightists to topple the Lenin monument on Jan. 11, including of a WW2 veteran of the Red Army who stands in front of the monument to protect it.

Authorities across Ukraine have either encouraged or done nothing to prevent right wing extremists from destroying monuments to Lenin in hundreds of towns and cities.

In Slavyansk on Jan. 11, police stood by and watched.

WW2 veteran protects the Lenin monument in Slavyansk from extreme right vandals, Slavyansk, Jan 11, 2015

The citizen rally in Slavyansk is all the more remarkable because the city is enduring marital law conditions under Kyiv government occupation.

It is dangerous for anyone in Ukraine to speak out against the government’s austerity program and especially against its war in the east of the country.

According to new laws approved last year, people deemed to be “seperatists” or advocating “seperatist” ideas can be jailed without recourse or even shot if they are deemed to be an imminent threat to ‘public order’.

Slavyansk was a key battleground last summer in the effort by pro-autonomy forces in eastern Ukraine to repel the armed invasion of the Donbas region of the country (Donetsk and Luhansk provinces). Self-defense forces withdrew from Slavyansk in early July.

Video of citizens protecting the Lenin monument in Slavyansk, Jan. 18, 2015:

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