The huge Vladimir Lenin Statue at Volgograd (Stalingrad)
used to be a statue of... Joseph Stalin!
Why does a city have its name changed?
Stalingrad was a proud name.
It was the site of the largest and most decisive battle of World War II,
the Battle of Stalingrad.
It was one of Russia's 'hero cities'.
Why was the city's name changed to Volgograd?
Beginning in the late 1950's, those Russians that didn't already know it,
began learning the truth
about their former leader, Joseph Stalin.
They learned that he was as bad as Hitler.
It's interesting, how two of history's worst dictators, were in the same war.
Many Russians already knew the truth. Stalin had been greatly feared.
When he died in 1953,
he had 11 million Russians spying on the rest of them.
When he lay on his deathbed, they had trouble finding
a doctor to see him,
because doctors had gone to him in the past, and were never heard from again.
In the 1950's, this statue of Russian leader Joseph Stalin stood at the Volga Don canal.
The canal was completed in 1952.
Russian leader Nikita Khrushchev starting criticizing Stalin.
All over the Soviet Union, the Stalin name started coming down.
In 1961, the city of Stalingrad... became Volgograd.
The statue of Stalin became a statue of Vladimir Lenin!
Today, this remnant of Russia's past still stands
at the Volga Don Canal, about 30 miles south
of the downtown area.
Many guide books don't mention it
and most tourists never see it.
It's impossible to get a good perspective of the size of
this Lenin statue but... just accept it.
This thing is really big!
It's about 15 stories tall!
Here's a more clear photo of the Stalin statue
before it was changed to Vladimir Lenin in 1961.
In 1991, when the Soviet Union came apart,
the KGB files were opened.
It was found that in the base of this statue, there were secret listening devices.
People would gather in the evening and talk to each other...
and they were being recorded!
Here's a good photo of the entire Stalin statue and base.