Gelsenkirchen’s administrative court lifted city orders to halt construction, allowing the Marxist-Leninist Party of Germany (MLPD) as owner of a city land plot to proceed with erecting its depiction of the Soviet leader who led Russia’s 1917 armed revolution.
The city had argued Lenin’s effigy would spoil the heritage value of an adjacent former communal Sparkasse savings bank building in the 260,000-population city otherwise famed for its Schalke football team, perhaps fittingly sponsored by Russian state energy giant Gazprom.
Read more: Germany’s role in Russian revolution
But judges said the architectural objection and controversy over Lenin’s historical role were irrelevant because the statue would be placed more than 10 meters away. The MLPD could proceed from March 14, they said.
Objectors can still submit via rapid application an appeal to a higher court.
Statue a ‘disgrace’
A member of Germany’s national parliament, Marco Buschmann, a Gelsenkirchen local with the opposition business-friendly Free Democrats (FDP), was highly critical of the plan.
“A Lenin statue would be a disgrace for Gelsenkirchen,” Buschmann wrote on Twitter. “Lenin stands for mass murder and totalitarianism. Anyone who wants to erect a Lenin statue should ask themselves whether they are still grounded in liberal democratic principles or not.”
The MLPD in a press release said: “A few weeks before his 150th birthday, Vladimir Ilyich Lenin has once again won a great victory.”
Lenin’s links with Germany
Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov, who adopted the revolutionary alias Lenin, spent much of World War One with other Russian exiles in Switzerland until the overthrow of Tsar Nicholas II in February 2017.
Under a deal with Germany’s then military-imperial Prussia, Lenin traveled in April 2017 from Zurich in a sealed train carriage across Germany and Sweden to Petrograd (St. Petersburg), where he emerged as Soviet leader in the October Revolution.