The "park of fallen heroes" is the ironical name Muscovites have given to the patch of waste land across Krymsky Val from Gorky Park, where the statues of Soviet leaders are dumped. Here lies a Stalin in polished red granite that once stood twelve feet high; but it was broken while being taken down, and the big red boots lie yards away in the long grass. Unable to stand, Stalin rests on his side on a makeshift bed of concrete blocks. The tyrant has his right hand stuck between two buttons of his great coat in the familiar Napoleonic pose; his nose has been smashed off.
Towering intact over him is the gigantic metal statue of Felix Dzerzinsky, banished hither from the square that once bore his name and where he used to contemplate the house of his creation, the Cheka (later the KGB). Now "Iron Felix" contemplates a massive marble torso of Brezhnev, stranded in the grass and looking very dead, just the way he did when he was propped up to make his last official speeches. Nearby lie this year's novelties in the park, two discarded white busts of Lenin.
Compared to what I saw here last year, the place has been spruced up to look more like a garden and less like a tip, and an effort has been made to alleviate the crude political symbolism. There are busts of nineteenth-century worthies that no one remembers anymore, and some egregious examples of socialist realism in sculpture, mainly workers with hammers. Mysteriously, someone has dumped here a bust of William Shakespeare. The creator of Richard III and Macbeth looks to be quite at home among these assassins and buffoons.