While Francis Fukuyama so cheerily declared that the world had reached “the end of history” in 1992, he was only half right. True, the Soviet Union and its ideological model had collapsed, and the Western model of liberal democracy had prevailed. However, even as ideas come and go, the structures in which we house them tend to take a bit longer to disappear.
Such is the case with the monuments scattered across the former Soviet Union and former communist countries. Before its dissolution, the Soviet Union had an area of 8.65 million square miles, filled with approximately 290 million people. While these abandoned Soviet-era and Soviet-friendly monuments have succumbed to time and the elements, they remind us of the transformative and lasting power of ideas–both good and bad.