For the first time a statue of Vladimir Iliych Lenin will be installed in a western German city. After a long-standing battle between the local authorities of Gelsenkirchen and the Marxist-Leninist Party of Germany (MLPD), a court decided to permit the erection of the statue.
Gelsenkirchen, a city located in the centre of the Ruhr valley, once the most important coal mining town in Europe, will be the first western German city with a statue of the leader of the 1917 Great October Socialist Revolution and founder of the Soviet Union.
The court has given permission to the Marxist-Leninist party of Germany (MLPD) to place the metal statue outside its headquarters. Gelsenkirchen's local authorities had tried to stop the construction citing the possibility the statue would affect the appearance of a neighbouring property, a three-story former savings bank.
Moreover, in order to prevent the erection of the state, the local council for the district of West Gelsenkirchen resorted to blatant anti-communism and slanders against Lenin, characterizing him in a statement as a "representative of violence, suppression, terror and immense human suffering", a "symbol of the fight against and the abolition of our democracy" and therefore an inappropriate figure to be commemorated in the city.
The persistence from the side of the the MLPD led to the overcoming of objections and restrictions and the subsequent court's decision to allow the erection of the statue. The city authorities “will be contending the court’s judgment”, a city spokesman said.
In a press release, the MLPD celebrated the decision pointing out that “a few weeks before his 150th birthday, Vladimir Ilyich Lenin has once again won a great victory.”
The Party's head, Gabi Fechtner, stated to the German media: “We are really happy. Gelsenkirchen is a workers’ city and Lenin fits in here very well.”
The cast-iron 2.15 metre statue is due to be unveiled during a ceremony on 14 March. The effigy was made in the 1930s in the Soviet Union and was acquired by the MLPD from the Czech Republic, following an online auction.