Friday, May 30, 2014

Lenin Memorial Centre, Ulyanovsk, Russia

This was a remarkable centre. A celebration of a man so important to the Russian People. I couldn’t help but think of the Lincoln Memorial and consider Lincoln and the civil war of the day.  Rebels today consider him and the win in America anathema.  Lenin is that controversial.  Major forces of history and men at the helm.  Great swaths of legalism and political ease.  Thousands dead on an idea or a word. Yet those who survive were part of an awesome time.  In the west we have a shallowness with emotionalism, soccer games and the screaming fans of some child rock star.  These days of Russia were life and death. As if California wanted to secede from the US and Texans decided en mass to stop them. All the absurdity and insanity of politics, people and wars comes to the fore.
I judge as history judges a million miles away. Lenin was a great man.  To the Russians he is what Churchill is to the British, Washington is to the Americans.  John A. MacDonald with all his corruption and foibles is as close as I can come with a comparison in Canada. Certainly he is in a way like Wallace to the Scots but in contrast to Wallace, Lenin succeeded in creating a new empire. He was a builder.  He brought a vast region under central control, created a modern state from what was essentially a medieval kingdom.
There is modern history in this museum too. I enjoyed the wall given to each of the Russia leaders since Lenin. I confess I enjoyed those bits where English was added and I could understand better what I was seeing. Definitely an audiotape tour would be more rewarding. Barrett answered my questions but was delightfully waylaid by two Russian ladies who waxed poetic she said about the Soviet era.  I loved the celebration of the Soviet Space exploration.


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