“So, how do you like living under capitalism?” Celebrating Lenin’s Birthday in Ukraine

These billboards have popped up in Luhansk, in southeastern Ukraine to mark the upcoming 140th birthday of Lenin. Arguing freedom of speech in a democratic country, the Communist Party of Ukraine is stirring up controversy with these billboards, asking local residents how they like living under capitalism. After almost 20 years of independence, much of the population of Ukraine still suffers from poverty and sub-standard living conditions, a shaky political situation and dying hopes of joining (and benefitting from) the European Union.

As Lenin is feted as though he is still alive (and in many ways, the myth, if not the man, is alive and well) I think it is a good idea to think about what it is to live under capitalism, both in the Ukraine and the rest of the world. Questioning what democracy and capitalism have done for us is one of the rights and privileges afforded the “free world”, and the more often we take it out for a brisk walk, the better.

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