Today, Seattle honors a former notable person in the struggle for human rights in the heart of its Freemont neighborhood.
He is depicted as the larger-than-life statue of a famous Russian revolutionary revered by the residents of Seattle’s former autonomous zone variously Chaz, then Chop, and finally, apparently, Chad again.
A 16-foot statue heralds the life and accomplishments of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin (born Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov), the Father of the now defunct Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). The USSR was humankind’s first large, determined, national effort to develop a form of collectivism called “communism”. It failed.
Although Vladimir – not to be mistaken for the “Val” Putin that former President Barack Obama was referencing awhile back when, at a global nuclear security summit in S. Korea, he told Russian President Dmitry Medvedev that “This is my last election. Tell Val that I’ll have more flexibility…” – has been dead since January 21, 1924. But, today, his embalmed body doesn’t look a day over 53 as it lays on display, for a total of 12 hours each week, in a mausoleum in Moscow’s Red Square.
In Seattle’s Freemont area, Val’s likeness sits on private property, but it’s on a prominent, highly visible location that’s on display 24/7/365 days a year.
Had the occupants of Chaz/Chop/Chaz been thinking, they might have named their autonomous zone Leningrad, since it went thru a threefold transition not unlike the one that went from Saint Petersburg (Tzars), to Leningrad (Communists), and back to Saint Petersburg (former KGM and oligarchs), where it remains today.