These busts of Lenin (Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov), the first leader of the Soviet Union, are but two samples of thousands of different versions of Lenin's likeness. Both are copies of the same plaster bust, approximately two feet in height. Across the Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, and other states led by Communist parties, busts, statues, reliefs, and other likenesses of Lenin were ubiquitous features of everyday life. Almost every classroom, school building, government office, post office, subway station, sports venue, and any other public space was likely to sport its own Lenin. Some were small, some were life size, and some were huge, dwarfing everything in their presence. All were reminders of Lenin's role in founding the Soviet Union and therefore in helping to bring Communism to Eastern Europe. When the revolutions of 1989 began, Communist icons like these busts were torn down or desecrated by protesters, especially young people. The pink and green Lenin pictured here comes from the city of Leipzig in East Germany and was repainted from its traditional bronze in what was apparently a sign of the artist's disdain for Lenin and his place in East German society at that moment.
Busts of Lenin (Leipzig, East Germany), courtesy of the Wende Museum, Los Angeles, CA.