An intriguing story has come my way, concerning a visual relic of the Soviet era which can be seen by all now in 2008 courtesy of google earth.
Thirty eight years ago, in 1970 there was the hundreth anniversary of the birth of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, the leader of the Bolsheviks and the founder of the USSR after the revolution in 1917. In Siberia foresters decided to celebrate this anniversary by cutting all the trees on a plain leaving only those that would form a really huge message “Lenin is 100 ”. This was before the era of Google Earth, and there were certainly no satellite photos in the media.
So what inspired this bizarre tribute to the memory of Lenin? The real reasons are no doubt lost in the smoky haze of some long forgotten Communist Party committee meeting in the region at the time, when people were devising ways to commemorate the anniversary,.
Some have speculated that it may have been a defiant two fingers to any passing American spy satellites, or perhaps it was an act of personal whimsy by a collective of bored managers and workers.
I wonder, whether, given the amount of trees involved that there were good deal of trees not cut, presumably an act approved for the purposes of this stunt, could this in itself have provided a conveniently grey accounting area in terms of other amounts of lumber that were not cut and may, instead of participating in this unique arborial tribute to Lenin, have ended up being sold for private gain on the black market?
I know that this is purely speculative on my part, but it does seem rather an elaborate wheeze for something that very few could possibly have ever seen. If this was true, could it be the real irony of this discovery 38 years later ? That it was in fact all part of an elaborate black market lumber scam?
On the other hand the lads might just have thought it would be a good way of not having to cut down those trees. Whatever way one looks at it, if it was the idea of some keen young Party apparatchik eager to make an impression, one can only guess what the workers who had to cut around the elaborate template required to make it visible from the lower stratosphere would have thought of their management, and possibly the whole Soviet leadership. You can examine the evidence of this piece of super topiary by following this link,