Ukraine has been independent for 24 years since the demise of the Soviet Union in 1991, but in many parts of the country one can get doubts over that matter. The Soviet era, heavily laden with ideological propaganda, left its mark in the names of the streets, institutions, and monuments. While proponents of the total removal of Soviet symbols in the public space in the framework of Ukraine’s adopted decommunization bill argue that surroundings reminiscent of the totalitarian era foster totalitarian thinking, defenders of Soviet symbols as works of art have also emerged.
Olha Salo, a designer at the Lviv-based Research Center of Liberation Movements edited real images of Soviet symbols in the Kyiv subway to explore how Nazi symbols would look in the place of the Soviet imagery that Ukrainians see every day:
“[They say that Soviet symbols are] objects of monumental art, spirit of the times, monuments of culture. Well, I think that symbols have the specific purpose of carrying certain ideas. And if time has shown us the devastating results of those ideas, and that the Nazi and Soviet regimes were identical, then the decision is obvious. Imagine that you go to work each morning and see this in the subway.”
You can compare how the Kyiv subway would look were Nazi symbols to replace the existing Soviet ones by dragging your mouse over the photos below. Originals are on the left and the photocollage with Nazi symbols is on the right.