February 21, 2024

In Russia, selective memorials of Kim Jong Il’s true birthplace

Some memories, but little official recognition, of Kim Jong Il in his birthplace

Personal recollections of North Korea's founding dynasty are fading in Kim Jong Il’s Russian birthplace of Vyatskoe. But even as memories of the Kims dim, construction of a large Chinese-backed memorial complex in the village will likely keep conversations alive concerning a controversial chapter in North Korea’s pre-history.

For much of its past, Vyatskoe has been an unglamorous place. Locals in Khabarovsk, the nearby regional capital, note that it is sometimes nicknamed Blyadskoe, a play on an extremely rude Russian curse word.