When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, so did thousands of statues all across the Union. Crowds gathered with hammers and cranes and pulled down statues of Stalin, Lenin and other former Soviet leaders with great gusto. No one really knows what happened to those statues. Probably they were broken down and recycled. Those that suffered minimal damage were taken into museums for preservation. In Moscow, a large number of them were carted off and dumped on the south bank of the Moscow River, in the center of the city, where they formed a sculpture park called “Statue Park of the Central House of Artists” or “Muzeon Park of Arts”. Somewhere along the way, it acquired the nickname of “Park of the Fallen Heroes,” or just simply “Fallen Memorial Park.”
A statue of Stalin, sans nose, stands in Fallen Monument Park, Moscow. Photo credit: Chelsea Marie Hicks/Flickr
Muzeon Park was established in 1992 and currently displays over 700 sculptures. It is split into themed sections, such as Oriental Garden, Pushkin Square, Portrait Row and a World War II section, but the best known section is the one where the fallen monuments are. The fallen monuments were the park’s original attraction, but as the park gained popularity more and more modern sculpture was added and as the young trees grew up, the fallen sculptures became a less obvious minority.
Jubilant people step on the head of the statue of Felix Dzerzhinsky, the founder and chief of the secret police organization KGB, after it was toppled in front of KGB headquarters in Moscow on August 23, 1991. Photo credit: Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP
The statue of Felix Dzerzhinsky lies in the Muzeon Park in Moscow, after it was torn down from the KGB building on Lubyanka Square in Moscow in 1991. Photo credit: foto-history.livejournal.com
Armenians gather as Lenin’s statue is toppled in Republic (once, Lenin) square. Photo credit: armenianweekly.com
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