The street performances were staged by civic activists (for instance, one held near the offices of Donetsk Regional State Administration had the prominent blogger Denys Kazansky among its most active participants) and aimed to show the futility of nostalgia for Stalinism through mocking it.
The participants came up with posters reading “Let Us Bring the Masonic Government to Account for Its Crimes,” “Send Press Gangsters to the Gulag” and the like, and also showed a mini-farce about Stalin’s rising from the dead. The actor who played Stalin in Donetsk revealed the objective of the performance, video of which appeared almost immediately on YouTube: “We have tried to show that the enthusiasm for Stalinism, which is currently present not only among the elderly, but among the young people, too, is inherently absurd. Quite obviously, it requires disregard for historical facts and unwillingness to see the truth. If Stalin’s anniversaries are to be celebrated at all, the only ethical way to do it is with such a carnival.”
The anniversary performance in Luhansk was organized by the activists from the STAN literary grouping. They had planned to hold it near the Revolutionary Fighters monument, celebrating the anniversary with poetry readings and songs. They had promised 100 grams of vodka (a standard portion in the Red Army during World War II) and a sandwich with bacon to everybody willing to participate. The STAN’s members unfurled posters reading “STOP the Gulag” and “We Are Dancing on the Tyrant’s Bones, While They Are on the Bones of Millions.” A few minutes before the performance was to start, several cars and a group of people with a portrait of Stalin approached the monument. The Stalinists surrounded the organizers and tried to provoke a fight. Maksym Chalenko, a Communist regional councilor, was especially aggressive, knocking a tray of bread and bacon out of the hands of one of the organizers, the poet and Kulturtraeger Yaroslav Minkin (the STAN’s members planned to lay the word “Stalin” with bacon on bread, as a symbol of the present danger of the dictatorship’s restoration).
Only the intervention of law-enforcement officers prevented a fight. The militia had to escort the performance’s participants and organizers to the bus stop to ensure their safety. “We do not want to live in a country where Stalin is a model ruler. We went out and said it aloud today,” an organizer of the event, writer and journalist Kostiantyn Skorkin told the press.