The Figure of Lenin

This statue stands outside St Petersburg’s Finland Station, the terminus at which Lenin arrived from exile in April 1917.  The earlier February Revolution had seen Tsar Nicholas II abdicate and the formation of the Provisional Government, but the rate of progress was seen particularly by the Bolsheviks as too slow.  The continuation of the Russia’s costly participation in the First World War drew increasing criticism and anger.

As leader of the Bolsheviks, Lenin argued in late 1917 that the Provisional Government should be overthrown by force.  With the agreement of the party, the Petrograd Soviet’s head, Leon Trotsky, became head of the soviet’s Revolutionary Military Committee.  On 25 October (Old Style), Bolshevik forces took control of the capital’s most important administrative buildings.  Alexander Kerensky, the head of the Provisional Government, fled the city.

Leningrad. Pamiatnuk tov. Leninu u. Finl. Voksala (Leningrad : Izd. “Soiuzfoto”, [no date]).  Cooke.Postcards

Postcards from the Catherine Cooke collection will appear frequently in this exhibition.  Her collection stretched to many hundreds, carefully ordered and labelled.  Dr Cooke’s interest in architecture saw her focus chiefly on postcards of buildings and structures.  The architects who worked with the sculptor of the Lenin statue here were Vladimir Shchuko and Vladimir Gel’freikh – the former a particularly significant architectural figure in the 1920s and 1930s.

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