Ramble On

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

That Lenin Statue in Kiev

Back in the early 1990's, I worked for a fast-growing company called Development Alternatives, Inc. as the director of federal contracts.  There were a lot of international development projects just getting underway in the countries of the former Soviet Union, and as we began to win those jobs I found that there were opportunities for me - as a former USAF Russian linguist - to travel to some of the capitals to negotiate the contracts.

My two big travel experiences were to Kiev and Almaty; during the next year or so I also made it to Moscow while I was at USC Marshall B-school.  Great trips, and I did find that the USAF training was solid - the language began coming back to me almost as soon as I found myself immersed in the environment, even in the Fairfax neighborhood in LA!

So the news this week about the protests in Kiev attracted my attention.  Certainly the geo-political aspects of the situation is complex and threaten to take us into some new and unfortunate Cold War era.  But one image hit home: the one where Kiev's old Lenin statue had been destroyed by rioting crowds.

On the one hand, that demolition was long overdue - many of the cities and capitals that were part of the Soviet Union had long ago removed their statues.  But the fact that the statue had stood for so long after the demise of the Union suggested it might last as a historical artifact for some time to come.

At one time, given my own Cold War history, I'd thought it might be cool to get a snap of myself with prominent Lenin statues in the former capitals.  That goal was short-lived - here's Almaty also - but we were so busy in Moscow (that was a marketing consult to 3Com) that I didn't even get a photo of the bust in the train station!

Comes to mind that I should get back down to the Newseum in DC to have a photo taken of me with the headless Lenin statue that is part of the Berlin Wall exhibit there...I'd at least have a triptych then.

Things change.  What would life be if they didn't?

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