By the time I got there this morning, the black bag was gone from Lenin's head. The hands, however, were still painted red.
Fremonts Lenin Today: Without Black Bag on Head but With Blood on Hands
  • Charles Mudede
  • Fremont's Lenin Today: Without Black Bag on Head but With Blood on Hands

The feeling among the few people I talked to about the weird and even spooky bagging is that Fremont has long gotten used to the defacement of and controversies surrounding this statue, which became a part of the neighborhood in 1995. "There was also mud on his feet," said Jai Suh, the owner of Royal Grinders, a sandwich and gelato joint in the plaza behind the statue. "All of that is new. What's old is the blood. It's been going on since summer—someone, some artist I think, no one really knows, has been painting the hands red. And then someone from the Fremont Chamber of Commerce takes it off. That stuff has nothing to do with what's going on in the Ukraine, but the black bag I think does."

"It definitely had to do with the Ukraine," said Marrissa, who also works at Royal Grinders. "It was up there for two days. On the first day, it was a bag and a Ukrainian flag around the neck. The next day, the flag was gone but the bag was still there. The bag went today. But, yeah, it was a very aggressive thing to do."

A lot of people think the current political crisis in the Ukraine, which resulted in a change of power, is a step towards reviving Russian/Soviet-style militarism—the Russian army is massing on the border of the Ukraine and, by all appearances, threatening to attack. The black bag appearing on Lenin’s head at this exact moment/this time of trouble signifies something larger, something to do with the 19th and 20th century history of that region.

According to the Fremont Chamber of Commerce's website, the statue is still owned by the family of the man (the deceased Lewis Carpenter) who brought it to this part of the world from faraway Poprad, Slovakia, in 1994. The Carpenters, states the website, want to sell seven-ton relic of the Cold War and be done with it. I reached out to the Fremont Chamber of Commerce to confirm this information, but they haven't been in contact with me yet.

However, Royal Grinders does sell a "Lenny Scoop,” which is a "cherry-sized" extra scoop on top of what ever flavor of ice cream you order.

Jessica Vets, the director of the Fremont Chamber of Commerce, explained in an email that the statue is indeed privately owned, stands on privately owned land, and her organization has nothing to do with its maintenance. The person who put the black bag on Lenin's head or the blood on his hands is as unknown to her as the person who took them off.

[It is] often the case in Fremont, things have a way of magically fixing themselves! There was also a banner around [Lenin's] neck for a short time, but I did not get a picture before it was removed... again, magically.
That's where things stand with this bag business.