Berlin in Chernobyl

September 11th, 2011

Part of the logic of triumphalist Soviet memorials, and other works of public art, was to create reproducible iconic images. Portrayals and reproductions of Soviet monumental art were commonplace throughout the USSR, and many remain today. The memorials themselves, usually combining totalitarian vastness with unintended kitsch, occasionally lend themselves to strange juxtapositions, such as this image of the Soviet War Memorial in Treptower Park, Berlin, appearing on the wall of an abandoned school near Chernobyl. The image has been doubly abandoned; first by human-created nuclear catastrophe, and then by political downfall and collapse. The slideshow it is part of doesn’t even mention the memorial, it’s simply part of the scene (in a story about another nuclear disaster a quarter of a century later).

Image of Soviet War Memorial, Treptower Park, Berlin, in an abandoned school in Pripyat, near Chernobyl, Ukraine

Image of Soviet War Memorial, Treptower Park, Berlin, in an abandoned school in Pripyat, near Chernobyl, Ukraine (Photo: Getty; no photographer credited in original article)

Soviet War Memorial in Treptower Park, Berlin

Soviet War Memorial in Treptower Park, Berlin (Photo: Bernd Brincken, via Wikipedia)

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