Is this a case of art imitating life, or movie marketing gone extreme? It’s probably not really either, with a slight influence of both. While it’s been decades since the end of communist rule in eastern Europe, much of the remnants of the region's past still exist. A statue of Vladimir Lenin which has remained standing outside a factory in Odessa in the Ukraine has now been renovated rather than removed. In its place, rather than the leader of the Russian Revolution is the Dark Lord of the Sith.



According to reports, the Ukraine recently passed a new law which required the removal of all public remnants of the communist era. For this reason, the statue of Lenin was scheduled to be demolished. However, a local artist asked to make modifications instead. Now Lenin has been converted into a statue of Darth Vader. He’s not an entirely evil statue either, as Vader also provides public Wi-Fi, so, there’s that.


There’s no indication that Disney had anything to do with the statue update. While they’re not above using landmarks to market their films, they recently had 500 Stormtroopers marching across the Great Wall of China as part of their promotion of The Force Awakens, this appears to have been solely the idea of the artist. Vader is a somewhat fitting choice as well. The entire reason the statue needed to be removed is that most of eastern Europe does not look back on the communist era fondly. Lenin is not the hero figure he once was, so if you’re going to replace the statue of somebody that most view as a villain, why not go all the way and use one of the biggest villains of all time.

It’s a fairly impressive conversion as well. Only the things that needed to be changed were modified. The stance is the same, the coat becomes a cape, and the helmet has simply gone over the face. The holding of the cape is really the only thing that doesn’t scream Star Wars as we never saw Vader in a position like that, but that will be the only reminder that it wasn’t always a Darth Vader statue. In a couple of generations, people might forget Lenin was ever here. Although if that’s the case, people may eventually wonder why somebody built a Darth Vader statue in the middle of the Ukraine.

Whatever the reasons we approve of giving Lord Vader the respect he deserves. While the Galactic Empire, like communism, may be no more, we know who the real power behind the throne was. It’s time that power was properly honored.

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