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Lenin nearly forgotten but not quite gone

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KYIV -- The old goatee, as it were, is still there, but comrade Vladimir Ilyich Lenin gets no respect in this city of four million, 20 years after the palace style" of Soviet era, a 60-kilometre network that was begun in 1949 and which continues to serve the city extremely well and accident free 60 years later.

Perhaps that's why Lenin's bust remains, a grudging reminder that not everything Soviet was wrong and bad.

But I can't say; no one I asked could explain his continued presence.

What I can say is that Lenin's bust, and the bronze panels of Lenin quotations that adorn the polished rose-and-black stone walls are no longer impressive, merely ironic.

"We are true internationalists and we strive for a volunteer union of workers and peasants of all nations," Dana Sholyak translated from one panel.

"You see," she hooted. "It's globalization. It's the European Union that he foresaw."

Another panel, incredibly reads, "We value Communism only when it is economically justified."

Some are pathetically wrong, such as "The victory of communism is inevitable. It will win."

And then there was Dana's favourite: "With the common action of the proletarians of the greater Russia and Ukraine, a free Ukraine is possible. Without this, you can't even talk about it."

And as if to add insult to injury, the station walls below the bronze panels are covered with advertisements extolling the virtues of Microsoft's Windows software.

"Life without barriers," the advertisements promise.

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