Fallen Monument Park, Moscow, Russia

Ever wonder what happened to all the statues of Lenin from the former Soviet and Warsaw Pact countries? Certainly some still stand in their original places (the one on Kiev’s Taras Shevchenko Boulevard is a favorite gathering place for Ukraine’s Communists, and most Belarusian towns seem to still maintain a spot for Ulyanovsk’s favorite son, who always seems to be pointing toward some unremarkable Khruschyovka apartment block or a post office).

However, many have vanished from the neighborhoods they once dominated. Although some have found their way to artist communities in the West (the Slovak Lenin statue that appears today in Seattle’s Fremont district accounts for only one of these missing monuments), the final disposal of many of these mass-produced works of art has remained something of a mystery.

In October 1991, a large number of Soviet-era “socialist realism” statues of its former leaders and peasant-class workers were carted off to Muzeon Park, a green space near the Crimean Embankment in Moscow. After the Soviet Union broke apart, these statues were placed all along the outer edges of the park, which took on the name “Statue Park of the Central House of Artists.” Somewhere along the way, the Western expatriate community gave it the nickname of “Park of the Fallen Heroes,” or just simply “Fallen Memorial Park.”
By 1995, the collection began to include enough monuments connected with World War II that a Great Patriotic War section was established. As the park acquired new attention, post-Soviet artist Evgeny Chubarov, started installing his own work dedicated to the victims of the Communist era. This led the way to annual summer shows of original works of art.

Ultimately, Muzeon Park’s popularity as a location for new works of art may lead to its eventual demise, as Elena Baturina, the wife of former mayor Yuri Luzhkov (also described as Russia’s richest woman oligarch), has commissioned award-winning British architect Norman Foster (holder of the title “Baron Foster of the Thames Bank”) to design a mixed-use structure entitled “Orange,” which will replace the park.

The fate of the statues is as yet unknown, but if these too vanish from public viewing, there are at least two other statue parks in the former East Bloc worth viewing - Grutas Park near Druskininskai in Lithuania (nicknamed “Stalin’s World” for all the statues of Stalin dotting it), and Memento Park near Budapest in Hungary (host of several festivals, most of which with a retro theme).
Fallen Monument Park, Moscow, Russia
Fallen Monument Park, Moscow, Russia