Comrade Lenin was happy where he stood for 35 years. Then city authorities built a stadium directly in his line of site. Within a year, so disappointed by the local football team’s losses, Vladimir Ilyich couldn’t take it anymore, and got up and moved downriver.
So go the jokes in Khujand, formerly Leninabad, to explain why officials moved Central Asia’s tallest statue of the Bolshevik revolutionary in May 2011 from a central square to a patch of weeds where cows graze by the Syr Darya River. He was replaced by a statue of Ismail Somoni, a proto-Tajik 10th-century king.
He’s still the tallest Lenin in Central Asia, however, at 12.5 meters with a new 12.5-meter pedestal, just like the old one. (Except without the marble facing and nameplate.)
To placate some locals upset by the move, a new story is making the rounds: The cow fields and industrial wasteland surrounding Lenin’s new spot will be turned into a large park.