Many Are Cold, but Few Are Frozen

David Lawrence's personal blog

Soviet Mongolia: The Lenin Statue

Goodbye Lenin

Mongolia was once a secure part of the Soviet empire, but now it's drifting away from its socialist past.  Because Soviet communism was imposed on Mongolians, they don't seem to have a problem shedding this legacy. Soviet influence, as well as modern Russian influence, is in a state of permanent decline. And that is a good thing for Mongolia.

It's easy to forget that Mongolia was essentially a captive Soviet state. But if you look around, you'll see remnants of the evil empire. The most obvious is the statue of Lenin, which stands in front of the Ulaanbaatar Hotel. It's the only statue of Lenin I have ever seen in Mongolia.

In Russia and Ukraine, there are still people who revere Lenin. But not in Mongolia. Nobody leaves flowers at the base of the statue, and it is not guarded by pensioners on his birthday. Instead, it's a place where yesterday's worn-out prostitutes gather. A fitting tribute, in my opinion.

I'd be happy if they'd get rid of the Lenin, if nothing more than to show the world that Mongolia has moved on. But inertia keeps it there; nobody cares enough about the statue to even talk about it.

Maybe indifference is what will really bury Mongolia's Soviet legacy.