The weathered mural

What was once a side portrait of Lenin is now little more than a large blurred spot on a white background. Lenin and the entire mural are hardly recognisable 30 years after the Soviet army marched out. The humid sea air accelerates the decay and gradually erases this tribute to the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) and the hero of the October Revolution right on the Baltic Sea.
Liste_PuetnitzThe mural is located on the former military airfield in Pütnitz, a town district of Ribnitz-Damgarten. Inaugurated as a flying school in 1936, the complex was taken over by the Group of the Soviet Forces in Germany in 1952 and housed various units of the 16th Air Force until 1994. In the meantime, the eastern part of the complex has been abandoned, while the western hangars are used by the Pütznitz Museum of Technology and are therefore open to visitors.

A large brick building has been preserved not far from the hangars of the Museum of Technology. All windows and doors are bricked up. On one side façade you can see the faded mural with Lenin. It is crowned by a red circle with a wreath of corn and the communist symbol hammer and sickle. Below it is the slogan „Glory of the CPSU“ in Cyrillic letters. At the very bottom, five rectangular pictures can be guessed, but almost nothing of them can be deciphered. In the middle are the dates 1870-1970, probably a commemoration of Lenin’s 100th birthday, and to the right of them – with a lot of imagination – the side portrait of the revolutionary leader can still be spotted.

Interestingly, there is another Soviet trace with reference to Lenin at the airfield: In a hangar of the permanent exhibition of the Museum of Technology there is a quote of Lenin written in Russian on the wall: „The one who has the best technology, organisation, discipline and machinery wins“. This sentence is inside the hall and therefore in a much better state of preservation. In the exhibition as well as in the desolate part of the complex one can find even more testimonies and legacies of the Soviets. In the abandoned restricted area there are some murals and a run-down relief series of Soviet army heroes to be discovered, while in the museum you can even see old Soviet tanks and helicopters.

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