On my last trip to Atyrau I spent a few hours wandering around Victory Park. It’s a fascinating peek into the Kazakh psyche as although its clearly a left over from the Soviet era the powers that be are slowly removing traces of their former masters from the history books.
Victory Park is a place that families visit at the weekends and it is the focus of a big event each year that celebrates victory in WW2. History is a little different in Eurasia than in the west where we like to think the British and Americans defeated the Nazis!
If you look carefully you can still see glimpses of Soviet times,just take a look at these gates and the star surrounding the ‘eternal flame’.
As a Brit and coming from a health and safety culture I was a little freaked out by the flame which burns 24 hours a days and has no protection round it!
I did however love the statues that flanked the flame ….
Scattered around the park are old tanks, aircraft, jeeps and my favourite, the missile launcher! According to my friend up until recently all these vehicles had the Soviet Red Star on the side. This year they have mysteriously disappeared!
Kazakhstan was oppressed for many years when under Russian leadership so it’s interesting to see how the nation is asserting itself, even if it means rewriting history just a little!