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ULAN BATOR: Mongolia’s capital has removed its last statue of Lenin, one of the final vestiges of the country’s longtime alliance with the Soviet Union as it forges ever-closer links to the West and China.
Ulan Bator’s Mayor Bat-Uul Erdene branded the late Communist leader Vladimir Lenin a “murderer” after the statue was hoisted onto a lorry on Sunday as a small crowd of bystanders threw old shoes it.
Mongolia was effectively a Soviet satellite state during the Cold War until it abandoned Communism without a shot being fired in 1990.
“Approximately 100m people were killed during the communist era. So we have seen that the Communists killed even more people than those who died in the World Wars,” said Bat-Uul, a fierce opponent of Communism and former protest leader who helped usher in a new era of democracy.
“And the person who started all of this was Lenin,” he said.
The 58-year-old statue will be auctioned off, with a starting price being set at 400,000 tugrik (just under $300).
For decades, Lenin was worshipped as “Teacher Lenin” by schoolchildren in Mongolia, a landlocked country that, despite rich mineral and other resources, remained impoverished during seven decades of dominance by Moscow as it was restricted to trading mainly with Soviet Union.