Head of Lenin mushrooms near border

  • 2001-07-19
  • BNS
RIGA - Valka Town Council has decided to use a Soviet-era relic – a 2- to 3-meter-tall granite rendition of Vladimir Lenin's head as an outdoor design object in a nature park that is under development, Valka Mayor Vents Armands Krauklis told BNS.

Krauklis said the council believes the head would serve as a tourist attraction in the town, which is located in northern Latvia on the border with Estonia. The head will be placed in marshland, submerged chin-deep. In front of the head there will be granite plaques that have remained from the monument, forming the shape of a sickle, which would bear an inscription reading: "Evil is often disguised behind a noble mask and then it grows like a mushroom after rain."

Lenin's head, Krauklis said, would symbolize the growing mushroom of evil. Valka Town Council has set up a working group dealing with raising funds for moving the several-ton monument and the development of its future site.

Krauklis predicted the head could be moved no sooner than next year. Development of the nature park, meanwhile, could take dozens of years.

The huge head of Lenin has been causing problems for the town since 1991 when it was dismantled. It was placed horizontally at a museum in Valka, where it was frequently an object of fun for tourists. Many felt it should be moved, and its fate was put high on the agenda by the newly elected town council headed by People's Party member Krauklis, who called on town residents to think how the head could be used in the future.

During the Soviet period there was a monument to Lenin in every Latvian town. Many now are held in warehouses, while some towns have found better uses for them. The western Latvian town of Liepaja melted its bronze Lenin monument into small souvenir bells, which are now being sold to tourists.