Brodsky Explains Lenin
You saw the statues of Lenin falling in Ukraine, but maybe wondered about the significance? Let me let Joseph Brodsky explain:
“I began to despise [Lenin] when I was in the first grade – not so much because of his political philosophy or practice, about which at the age of seven I knew very little, but because of his omnipresent images which plagued almost every textbook, every class wall, every postage stamp, money, and what not…In a way, I am grateful to Lenin. Whatever there was in plenitude I immediately regarded as some sort of propaganda.” From Less than One.
Brodsky goes on to detail the different types of Lenin images one would come across (baby Lenin looking like a cherub with blond curls; Lenin addressing the “masses” from the top of an armored car; etc.).
As I read Brodsky’s essay, I was reminded of a book that I found while visiting my husband’s grandparents in Ukraine. The title was “Always We Remember Lenin” and it was a child’s picture book of Lenin’s life.
Brodsky was writing about Lenin’s ubiquitous image from his childhood in the 50s, but even today a child’s book of Lenin images still exists. And statues of Lenin still dot the Ukrainian countryside.