A statue of Vladimir Lenin was torn town on Sunday night by residents of Kharkiv, a Russian-speaking city in eastern Ukraine just 25 miles from the Russian border.
The Washington Post reported
the city's 1.5 million inhabitants had been mostly inert during the ongoing social upheaval kicked off last winter when residents of Kiev, the Ukrainian capital, toppled their own Lenin statue and occupied government buildings in a bid to break ties with the former Soviet nation and move toward stronger relations with the West.
Now, with the toppling of their own Lenin statue, the residents of Kharkiv have sounded their own pro-Western message.
According to Forbes
, "Russian propaganda painted Kharkiv as a city willing to join Russia in a heartbeat. Vladimir Zhirinovsky, a long-standing and eccentric member of the Russian Duma, publically called the educational and industrial center a Russian city. Kharkiv has even been included in various maps of what the Kremlin calls future 'Novorossiya' — a fictional state made up by Russian president Vladimir Putin’s advisors for the South-Eastern parts of Ukraine."
Now, "These examples of wishful thinking on the Kremlin’s part were largely contradicted by Sunday’s events, plus the latest poll conducted by Russian oppositionist Alexey Navalny and his anti-corruption center. The survey of Kharkiv and Odessa showed that 87% of respondents in both regions wanted to be part of Ukraine, 8% were undecided, and 3% and 2% respectively said they would want to join Russia and become part of Novorossiya."
Kharkiv's statue of Lenin was one of the country's largest, and had to be brought down by teams of people using ropes. A group of pro-Russian citizens attempted to stop the toppling of the statue, but the crowd, who recorded the felling with their smartphones and posted footage to Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, ultimately prevailed.
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