The city of Ulan Bator, capital of Mongolia, has removed its last statue of Lenin from Peace Avenue, one of the city’s main thoroughfares. Erdeniin Bat-Üül, mayor of Ulan Bator, oversaw the removal, and gave a ten-minute speech, calling Lenin a murderer, amongst other things.
Prior to its removal, the statue had a prominent place in a city park beside Peace Avenue:
The removal is something of a piece of political theatre, coming two months after Mr. Bat-Üül’s appointment as mayor, at a time of heightened success for his Democratic party.
What has gone unmentioned in reports about the statue’s removal, however, is the fact that the city of Ulan Bator is itself a communist propaganda remnant: The name ‘Ulan Bator’ literally translates to ‘Red Hero’, a name it adopted in 1924 on the urging of Turar Ryskulov, a Kazakh communist (later executed on Stalin’s orders). Unlike other soviet-era appelations like Leningrad and Karl-Marx-Stadt, the name survived the collapse of communism, partly due to the nonspecific, generic nature of the red hero honoured by the name.
Could it be that Mr. Bat-Üül, having successfully rid the city of Lenin, might next move on to changing the name of the city itself?