Monument seen as offensive to memory of those killed in Soviet war
Finland has made the decision to move a controversial statue of Russian revolutionary Vladimir Ilyich Lenin from the streets to a museum.
The statue in Kotka, southeast Finland, has often been vandalised over the years- but has received heightened attention since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The monument was presented as a gift by Kotka’s twin city Tallinn in 1979, and was sculpted by Estonian artist Matti Varikin. At the time Estonia was part of the USSR.
Proposals submitted to the city and municipal councils stated that the statue was offensive to the memory of those who were killed in Soviet war crimes.
The statue’s new home, Kymenlaakso Museum, had initially wanted the statue to be kept in its place with an additional plaque which describes its history. The museum also suggested that the statue be transferred to the Lenin Museum in Tampere.
But delegates voted 41-9 in favour of removing the statue from the streets of Kotka.
Reports claimed that the removal means that no more large monuments to Lenin left in Finland.
Calls to remove a Lenin statue and plaque in Finland’s southwest city Turku were also recently granted.
The monuments were given to Turku in 1977 by authorities in Leningrad, now St. Petersburg, and have been the centre of controversy for several years.
Lenin hid in Finland in 1917, fleeing the Russian government after it outlawed his Bolshevik Party, before returning to help lead the revolution later that year.
Tensions between Finland and Russia have been brewing since the Nordic country announced it would seek to apply for Nato membership following Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
In May this year, Russia halted gas exports to its neighbour in a highly symbolic move that marked a likely end to Finland’s nearly 50 years of importing natural gas from Russia.
Finland shares a 1,340-kilometre (830-mile) with Russia, the longest of any of the EU’s 27 members, and has a conflict-ridden history with the nation.
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