Symbolism of the communist bust: 30 years later

Almost 30 years ago, the people witnessed one of the last mass actions that marked the end of state socialism in Europe: the toppling of the statue of Enver Hoxha, the historic leader of the Albanian Communist party.

People could see from the live images, tens of thousands of people taking turns to pull ropes. Giant bronze figure of a man, whose portrait still stood after death.

They tilted her left and right, before losing its balance and collapsing to the ground. The statue was dragged into the main square of the capital Tirana, followed by chants of “Freedom”, “Democracy”, and “The police stands with us”.

The police were indeed with the protesters, but not out of sympathy for their cause. The Communist party, at that point still in power, had given them orders not to intervene.

During the preceding weeks of protest, high-ranking officials had realised that a system that had lost legitimacy in the eyes of the majority could no longer demand their compliance. Foreign news channels celebrated the birth of freedom in what they called the last dictatorship of Europe.

From cars to bunkers: the world’s striking communist remains
Overnight trains, Russia and Eastern Europe
Aboard an overnight train in Eastern Europe or the famous Trans-Siberian Railway in Russia travellers are transported back in time.
Classic cars, Cuba
Classic cars are synonymous with Havana and demonstrate just how much communism has affected Cuba until today.
Bunkers, Albania
In Albania, concrete bunkers from the 1960s to 1980s are a ubiquitous sight. They were built during the communist government of Enver Hoxha, who saw his country at threat from neighbouring regimes.
 Soviet statue graveyards, Eastern Europe
Once icons of strength and unity, the massive busts had become meaningless and were dumped into streets and backyards.
Bodies of communist leaders: Vladimir Lenin, Moscow, Russia
Situated in the Red Square near the Kremlin, the preserved body of Vladimir Lenin has been on public display in this mausoleum since the Soviet leader’s death in 1924.
Tombs of communist leaders: Karl Marx, London, UK
Even though the body of Karl Marx wasn’t preserved, his tomb in Highgate Cemetery in north London has become one of the most recognisable in the world, thanks to the huge, bearded bust on top.

Last from the rubric