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Red Sails into the Sunset

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FOR 21 YEARS THE STONY PRESENCE OF VLADIMIR ILYICH Lenin glared out over Leninplatz in what until recently was East Berlin. Carved from appropriately red Ukrainian granite, the 60-foot statue symbolized the heavy imperial hand—and apparent permanence—of the Soviet Union he founded. But as goes the state, so goes the head of state—just ask Louis XVI. In Lenin’s case, capitalism begat decapitation, even though the family of the statue’s late sculptor, Nikolai Tomsky, petitioned a German court to prevent the dismantling, arguing that the monument was a part of Germany’s heritage and should be preserved. An unsympathetic judge threw out the suit, and on Nov. 13 workers armed with a crane carried out the sentence. To add insult, the square where the statue stood has been renamed. Leninplatz is now United Nations Square. Bye-bye, red head.