On April 9, 2015, the Ukrainian Parliament passed a bill that called for the removal of all Communist and Nazi symbols and propaganda within six months of the president's signing. According to the BBC, that meant that hundreds of statues and millions of street signs would have to go, a process that could not be completed overnight. Before one statue of former Communist leader Vladimir Lenin could be removed, Ukrainian sculptor Alexander Milov decided to transform the monument so that it resembles another controversial political leader: Darth Vader.
"I wanted to make a symbol of American pop culture which appears to be more durable than the Soviet ideal," Milov told the BBC. "We are non-political, but we decided with one shot to kill two hares, as the Russian saying goes. To save the Lenin monument but also take it away from the eyes—to make a new art piece with a new sense."
To make the statue, Milov reinforced the original, added a titanium alloy helmet and cape, and installed a router in the helmet so that the Sith Lord can beam free Wi-Fi from his head to anyone within range.
The artist says that he chose the Imperial leader as the focus of the new statue because "at this moment Darth Vader is a political figure in Ukraine." In the country's 2014 parliamentary election, 16 candidates named Darth Vader registered, as did one Yoda and a Chewbacca. Several of the candidates had legally changed their names to those of the Star Wars characters—in fact, Chewbacca was recently detained and fined for driving without documents while taking one Vader to the mayoral elections in Odessa.
Milov says that his ultimate goal is to recycle more of these banned statues:
"We are gathering all these statues—like Lenin—and we would like to make a park of forlorn heroes of the epoch … I want to take the statues out of the central squares of cities and put them in a different place like Disneyland, where they can be visited. It seems to me that if these statues are destroyed, people coming after us will have no possibility to make conclusions for themselves as to whether people needed them or not."