Lenin's statue in Kotka was the last remaining one in a Finnish public space, Source: Kotka Municipality

Finland takes down its last statue of Lenin

Finland takes down its last statue of Lenin

And if you’re wondering why it was there in the first place – it was a gift from the Estonian capital Tallinn

The City of Kotka removed its statue of Lenin yesterday, 4 October, thus making Finland free of any Soviet statues. Opposition to its public display became mounting after the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February and so in June the local city council voted to have it taken away.

A group of construction workers in Kotka, a port city of 52,000 not far from the border with Russia, hoisted the statue into a truck and drove it away to a warehouse of a local museum.

The statue of Vladimir Lenin, sculpted as being deep in thought, was located in a central Kotka park adjacent to a wooden house where the Bolshevik party founder who became the Soviet Union’s first premier is said to have stayed.

Complicated history between Russia and Finland

Although Finland has never been part of the Soviet Union, its territory has played some part in the history of that state. Lenin and the Bolshevik leadership recognized the Nordic’s country independence on the last day of 1917. Ahead of the Russian Revolution, Lenin was exiled to Finland on several occasions, living in various cities and towns across the southern part of the country.

Later on, during the Second World War, Stalin did try to take over Finland with an ill-planned invasion in 1940, which saw the Red Army being bogged down by the brutal Northern winter, something that gave an advantage to the Finnish guerilla fighters. Some have drawn parallels between that war and the current one in Ukraine.

As for the statue itself, it was the work of Estonian sculptor Matti Varik. It was then gifted by the City of Tallinn to Kotka as a token of friendship in 1979. Finland did maintain neutrality during the Cold War and thus tried not to aggravate its Eastern neighbour, but the days of said neutrality seem to be numbered.

Lenin’s sculpture survived on the Kotka public square, not because of some ideological commitment on part of the local residents but because it was seen as a display item in the art collection of the local museum.

In fact, this is where the statue is headed – to the museum’s warehouse. Kirsi Niku, director of the Kymenlaakso Museum, said the museum's opinion is that the statue could well have remained in its original location.

"Even if this generation doesn't see it, future generations will certainly be interested in it. It is history in its own time," Niku told Yle news agency.



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