Monument to Lenin in Smorgon

Smorgon

Sculpture, monuments, memorials

Smorgon is a quiet town on the Oksna River and its tributary Gervyatka. The town is located in Grodno region and is the administrative center of Smorgon district. The population of Smorgon is about thirty-seven thousand people. Probably, that settlement appeared in the early 16th century. And in the 17th century, that place was famous for its Smorgon Bear Academy, founded by the richest Radziwill family. As the name implies, they have trained bears in the Academy, then have driven them across Europe and have shown performances with these dancing animals. Moreover, Smorgon is also known for the fact that first bagels (ring-shaped rolls) appeared there. According to legend, they were cooked as a delicacy for bears. And after a while, bagels became popular outside of the settlement. Today the only in the Republic of Belarus “Dog Academy” operates in the town, where dogs are trained for border service.

Smorgon has always had good transport links because of which the town has often been an arena of hostilities. But at the same time, thanks to this fact, the settlement has such a rich history and numerous interesting places for tourists. In 1812, Napoleon left his retreating army in that town and went to Paris, having given the rule of troops to his Marshal Joachim Murat. There was also Russian military commander Mikhail Kutuzov. In the following century after the First and Second World Wars, the town was almost completely destroyed. A monument to Lenin was demolished in July 1941. Another monument to Vladimir Ilyich was established there in Soviet times. It is located in the center of the town on a high pedestal, lined with tiles. The sculpture depicts Lenin to his full height. To the right of it is a building of the district administration, on the left is a board of honor. The central square itself, which is named after Lenin, is quite spacious, decorated with flower-beds and round lanterns. By the way, the same monument is set in Gomel region as well. Such a coincidence can be explained by the fact that monuments were serial products in Soviet times. Presumably, the author of these monuments to Lenin is S. D. Merkurov.

Many residents and visitors of the town express a negative opinion against the Soviet government and, in particular, about Lenin and monuments established to him. They say they have no cultural values, and it is high time to demolish them. But there is another opinion. According to it, we have to respect our history and keep safe all historical sites. In Soviet times, many monuments were destroyed and old churches were turned into storehouses. Of course, we cannot thank the Soviet power for it because were deprived of many architectural and cultural monuments. Therefore, we should not repeat the mistakes of socialism and try to destroy all objects connected with the previous stage of history. As you know, who builds on the ruined, that, finally, will be left with ruins. It is so important to preserve and respect the history, appreciate every historical object. 

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