UPDATE: A review of photos of the square’s main ministerial building show that the Korean Workers Party drapes and national flags have been changed and moved around several times over the past two years. Please therefore disregard previous reporting which suggested this particular change may have been of significance.
Kim Jong Un’s government have removed a large iconic portrait of North Korea’s founding leader Kim Il Sung from a ministerial building in Pyongyang’s main square. This was one of a number of new changes made to the appearance of Kim Il Sung square which have been observed through a study of recently uploaded tourist photos.
Kim Il-sung’s image is not absent from the square, however. Newly mounted to the base of the square’s official observation platform are paintings of a now jovial Kim Il-sung joined by a new painting of Kim Jong-il.
More interestingly, it appears that the square’s paintings of Marx and Lenin have been permanently removed, as first tweeted about by AP’s Jean Lee earlier this summer.
Just how long the paintings would remain in the square has been a subject of speculation for years. Beginning in the 1970s Marxism-Leninism was deemphasized in favor of Juche, Kim Il-sung ideology, and Kimilsungism.
In 1980 the Workers’ Party’s Sixth Convention formally struck “Marxim-Leninism” from the party charter and amended it to read “The Korean Workers’ Party struggles to practice Kim Il-sung’s ideology”.
Finally, as part of the constitutional changes that were announced in 2009, Articles 29 and 40 were amended so they no longer referred to “공산주의” (Communism). The paintings of Marx and Lenin remained through all of this. It is unclear why now they are no longer appropriate.
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