Should a 3.5 metre high Soviet statue of Karl Marx’s collaborator and patron Friedrich Engels – brought over from Ukraine five years ago – stay up in central Manchester? The concrete likeness of communism's co-founder, dating from 1970, lorded over Mala Pereshchepina, a village a few hours drive from Kharkiv, until 2015. In the aftermath of Russia’s annexation of Crimea and the stoking of pro-Russian insurgents in Donbas, Ukraine decreed that all Soviet era symbols be removed – and Marxism’s co-founder was felled there, only to rise again in Manchester.
This Engels from Ukraine was not erected to celebrate Anti-Dühring, his 1877 polemic against the wrong kind of socialist. It and thousands like it throughout the former Soviet Union and communist Central and Eastern Europe were there to show who the masters were: the Communist party, and that they intended to stay in power.