Fourth object:

Empty Pedestal

The Soviet Foundation

Contemporary mythology:
The Soviet myth
Monumental works:
A monument to Lenin at the House of Government in Minsk
Belarusian authorities often appeal to the Soviet legacy and rely on Soviet mythology. Remnants of the USSR can be found in almost all spheres of government - in the economy, education, military, and culture.

At the same time, there are almost no official processes of critical dissociation with the ‘Soviet’ concerning its institutions and practices. More than 400 monuments dedicated to Lenin still stand in their original places in Belarus. The most monumental of them – ‘Lenin on the Tribune’ – is located near the ‘House of Government’ in Minsk. In fact, the monument is sacralized: it is forbidden to photograph and only government representatives are permitted to ascend its steps.1 The fundamental Soviet myth acting as a base for modern Belarus is represented as a proportional model of an empty pedestal.

1. Monument to Lenin near the House of Government in Minsk

Project by Matvey Manizer, 1933

2-4. In 1942, the monument to Lenin was removed, leaving only a pedestal with bas-reliefs. The statue was taken by the Germans to Germany, where it was melted down. The monument was restored in 1945 according to the casts found in the studio of the sculptor Matvey Manizer in Leningrad. During the war, the pedestal was empty.

5. The SS symbol was hung on the House of Government in Minsk in place of the Soviet symbols and over the coat of arms of the BSSR.

1. In 2017, Sergey Shabohin created a mural at the ‘Ў’ Gallery of Contemporary Art. One of its parts depicted the aforementioned pedestal with a statue of Lenin seen from behind and a crowd of people ascending the steps and crawling under the sculpture.