Kulshat Medeuova: We decided to talk about a particular type of Soviet monuments, called the "main monuments". They are usually located on the country's main square, in the capital, large regional cities, or even tiny villages. Most often, they are monuments to Lenin. At the same time, we mean that the theme of Lenin is a topic of a certain "surplus" of the Soviet.
In this photo, you see a rather comic situation. On the main square of Tselinograd (now the new capital of Kazakhstan — Astana, or Nur-Sultan) in 1970, on the eve of Lenin's 100th anniversary, there were two Lenins together — the old and the new one. Precisely from this period, the radical restructuring of the commemorative landscape in the USSR began. The unification of monuments takes place; they become well recognisable, they become the monuments that we now presumably feel nostalgic about.
When we compare old Lenins and new, we see that large Lenins have always marked the late Soviet space. A specific paradox occurred: no one is looking for those first, "old" Lenins, but all conversations are about the fate of "new" ones. And when, in the 1990s, we chose the path of independence and began to think about our relationship with our Soviet past, we should understand, that this second, late Soviet wave of monuments was subjected to a major audit.