Kim Jong Il has returned to North Korea with a vengeance.

“Great Successor” Kim Jong Un, the third-generation totalitarian, has overseen a large build-up of new statues of his father across the country.

Most new statues have been additions, placing Kim Jong Il next to his father, Kim Il Sung, where Sung previously stood alone.

The economic growth hasn't been limited to statues, either. Beyond them, at least 233 monuments to Kim Jong Il and Kim Il Sung have been installed, according to Curtis Melvin, a North Korea expert at Johns Hopkins University.

Melvin has tracked those changes through changes in Google Earth, as it’s difficult to get information about the country through other means. In 2006, Melvin created North Korea Economy Watch, a blog that follows economic development in the country.

These statues and monuments to the regime serve to cement the Kim family as the legitimate rulers of North Korea. They’re also physical manifestations of power. Their permanency is used to symbolize the enduring power of the Kim dynasty and limit the thoughts of an alternative way of life.

Mocking the absurdity of North Korea remains popular in the media. However, every new statue glorifying a Kim acts as a visceral reminder of the brutality and deep poverty inherent in the North Korean system.