Hands up, who likes Vladimir Lenin? Anyone? Eh, I just hear crickets. While he is arguably one of the most influential men to have ever lived on planet Earth, his policies and ideas were fairly radical during his reign over Russia, almost single-handedly orchestrating massive changes to the country’s economy that would both cement it as a world superpower, and simultaneously set it up for the eventual downfall of the Soviet Union. In some countries previously under the Soviet Union, Lenin isn’t a very popular figure, and the Ukranian government is trying to rid itself of the many, many statues that dot its landscapes. It’s somewhat poetic, then, to see one such statue changed into Darth Vader, one of the most recognisable villians in recent film history.
The statue was remodeled by artist Alexander Milov, who urged the city council of Odessa, Ukraine, to give him the opportunity to change the statue into something more easy on the eye. He transformed the statue into Vader’s full garb, including the iconic cloak, and also installed a Wi-Fi hotspot inside Vader’s helmet to provide free internet for visitors to the statue. The statue is now a part of Odessa’s tourist attractions.
This change isn’t happening in isolation either, as I discovered today. Milov’s work is a nod to the Ukranian Internet Party running Darth Vader for Prime Minister. That’s right, you read that correctly – Darth Vader (that’s Darth Alekseyevich Vader to you), as well as Leia Organa Solo, Yoda, Darth Maul, Chewbacca, and others in the party are trying to push forward “an electronic government”, where the focus is on education, free access to the internet, and empowerment of the Ukrainian people currently trying to stave off a Russian invasion. Sometimes, even in dark hours, a sense of humor is key to not losing your sanity.
While they certainly aren’t looking to trade technology with the Viceroys, the party is certainly taking this as seriously as possible. Their 2014 campaigns didn’t earn them seats in parliament, but it is expected that they’ll make the cut this year. Darth Vader has already pledged to be in full attire every day that he is in parliament.