In April 2015 Ukrainian Parliament approved the new law that condemned the totalitarian Communist and Nazi regimes and banned all related symbols and propaganda. Practically this so-called decommunization law means that all kind of USSR-related imagery including public art works depicting episodes from Soviet history and monuments of Communist leaders are to be demolished around the country. Most of centrally located monuments were pulled down quite rapidly, this process became known as “Leninfall”. But the further destiny of minor and remote ones is a bit more obscure as the political pressure isn’t that strong for local governments in smaller towns and villages. 
I started to shoot and research Soviet cultural heritage in all regions of Ukraine including Crimea right after the outburst of Revolution of Dignity in late 2013 when it had become clear that the nation’s attitude towards the Soviet past came to the point of complete reconsideration. My aim is to create a visual archive of once dominant and now vanishing elements of the cityscape, and to show different cases of how the symbols of the past have been reworked, vandalised, confusedly hidden and also mixed with new symbols referring to “patriotic identity” and thus appropriated by new political agenda. 
Over the past four years, I worked on creating a multilayered visual archive of Soviet cultural heritage in the public space of modern Ukraine. I traveled across the country and captured the state of objects (or their remnants) from the Soviet era that until recently were everywhere and today are almost gone. The images reveal the diversity and frivolity of approaches to “decommunisation” taken by authorities, active communities and resourceful communal services offices. The numerous granite Soviet leaders, gypsum young pioneers, cast iron soldiers and stone workers have been transformed, vandalized, concealed, strangely decorated, or combined with elements from the new arsenal of “patriotic symbols” and thus appropriated by the new political conjuncture. 
The project problematizes the “hidden agenda” of official political memory and draws attention to the lack of civilized mechanisms of working with the past.

Monument to the soldiers of the First Cavalry Army near Olesko, Lviv oblast, Ukraine. Monument is located next to the Kyiv–Lviv highway. Made from expensive copper, it has been gradually dismantled by locals for sale.

Lenin's monument hand in Zaporizhia, Ukraine.  16-tons bronze statue of Vladimir Lenin is temporary stored on the premises of a municipal service company in Zaporizhia after it was removed from the city centre. The monument used to be one of the largest in Ukraine. The demolition took several days and was broadcasted online.

The statue of Engels was removed from its original pedestal and temporary put on
the semi-visible backyard of a grocery store. Local community didn't want it to be
destroyed and found a place to temporary store it. Poltava oblast.

Dismantled statue of Friedrich Engels in the creamery storage, Mala Pereshchepyna village, Poltava oblast, Ukraine. The head of the small agricultural village council decided to keep the statue of Engels "until better times" and put it to the open-air storage of the private creamery.

A typical sculptural group of soviet scouts (pioneers) next to the former Pioneers
Palace was repainted with the national flag colors by local activists. Many Soviet
statues were "Ukrainized" in a similar way after 2014.

Monument to the Liberator Soldier in Kharkiv. Kharkivites call the monument "Pavlusha". A typical Soviet monument  was partly covered with national flag by local activists to change its ideological context.

Lenin's monument in Zaporizhia dressed in Ukraine’s national football team uniform.

The Motherland Monument in Kyiv. Tank repainted with national flag colors with The Motherland Monument on the background, National Museum of the History of Ukraine in the Second World War

An empty pedestal of Lenin monument in Kramatorsk.
The sculptural group was dismantled in a few days in March 2016. Subsequently, an empty
pedestal was covered with a color banner with Cossacks and national ornaments.

Demolished part of the sculptural group in Zaporizhia, Ukraine. Typical statue of a worker is  temporary stored on the premises of a municipal service company in Zaporizhia after it was removed from the city centre.

The monument to Vladimir Lenin in Lysychansk, Luhansk oblast.
Like many other Soviet monuments in public space, the granite statue of Vladimir Lenin at the
central square of Lysychansk was painted in yellow and blue, colors of the national flag of
Ukraine by unknown activists. The monument was removed from the square shortly after.

Empty pedestal of Vladimir Lenin bust, Ochakiv, Mykolaiv oblast, Ukraine. One of a thousand pedestals left after the so-called "Leninfall" all around the country. Empty pedestals were mostly left as they are after demolition of the statues before the local councils find a new solution for them. 

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