Ukraine is at a crossroads, and not only symbolically, says Peter Leithart in his On the Square today. Stuck between the East and the West, between its recent past and its deeper past, the country has two competing iconographies: Christian and Soviet.
When we come into the open, we’re standing beneath a 200-foot stainless steel figure of The Motherland. She gazes fiercely toward the Dnieper, her muscular arms raised high as if signaling a touchdown, a sword in one hand and a shield decorated with hammer, sickle, and star in the other. The Soviets made sure that The Motherland was the highest point in Kyiv: It’s six meters taller than the historic bell tower of the Pechersk Lavra just to the north.
Read the rest here. While The Motherland might be taller than the historic monastery’s bell tower, the monastery boasts of an underground labyrinth. Cleary a church’s bell tower is just the tip of a highly developed way of life—the Soviets made a titanic mistake.