An unexpected sight in the center of the Vietnamese capital, this statue of Vladimir Lenin, the work of Soviet sculptor Alexander Tyurenkov, was a gift from the USSR to the people of Vietnam. The 5.2-meter (18-foot) bronze figure was first erected in 1980 in Thong Nhat Park to celebrate what would have been Lenin’s 110th birthday. It was moved to its current location in 1982 and the area was renamed Lenin Park, a small but pleasant green space in the middle of the hustle and bustle of Hanoi.
Lenin and Ho Chi Minh met in 1922, and the statue symbolizes the influence of Leninism on Ho Chi Minh and Vietnamese politics in general. In a movement that has been growing since the end of World War II, statues and portraits of Lenin have been removed and demolished in many places. The likenesses became symbols of the violence and oppression of the Soviet Union.
But images of Lenin can still be seen every now and then in Vietnam, although they are not as common as they once were. Viacheslav Dukhin, a counselor at the Russian embassy in Hanoi once said about the statue, “Certainly it’s funny. There must be other instances where someone is recognized abroad as a hero but not at home. Maybe Jesus Christ.” A popular joke in Hanoi is that the statue was built with one hand in its pocket to symbolize that “the Russians are so cheap.”
Today, the park is a meeting point for locals and is often frequented by young skateboarders, badminton players, Tai Chi enthusiasts, and others.
Know Before You Go
The statue is located in front of the Museum of Military History, about 10 minutes walk from the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. It's a public park so access is free.