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Stalin statue removed in Georgian home town

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  • beemail27@aol.com
    This is interesting, especially because of the recent posts about the D-Day Museum in Virginia erecting a bust of Stalin. In his home town in Georgia, his
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 26, 2010
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      This is interesting, especially because of the recent posts about the D-Day
      Museum in Virginia erecting a bust of Stalin. In his home town in
      Georgia, his statue was just removed.

      Barb Soja Revoet

      _Stalin statue removed in Georgian home town - Yahoo! News_

      Stalin statue removed in Georgian home town


      By Margarita Antidze Margarita Antidze – Fri Jun 25, 11:17 am ET

      GORI, Georgia (Reuters) – Authorities removed a towering statue of Soviet
      dictator _Josef Stalin_
      (http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20100625/wl_nm/us_georgia_stalin#) from the central square of his native city in the dead of the
      night on Friday, carting away the monument to Georgia's most famous native.
      The 6-meter-high bronze statue will be replaced by a monument to victims of
      Georgia's 2008 _war with Russia_
      (http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20100625/wl_nm/us_georgia_stalin#) and of Stalin's repression, officials said -- a
      rebuke to Moscow.
      In an unannounced operation that began after midnight and was over before
      dawn, municipal workers and police took the statue down from its stone
      pedestal in the small city 80 km (50 miles) west of the capital, Tbilisi.
      The statue's removal drew a mixed reactions in Gori, where it was erected a
      year before _Stalin's death in 1953_
      (http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20100625/wl_nm/us_georgia_stalin#) .
      "How could they remove it? ... Stalin was a great individual and the most
      famous Georgian in the world," Irina, who gave only her first name, told
      Georgian public television.
      "_Stalin's_ (http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20100625/wl_nm/us_georgia_stalin#)
      monument was a symbol of our town," she said.
      Outward signs of Stalin's pervasive _personality cult_
      (http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20100625/wl_nm/us_georgia_stalin#) were swept away after his death
      across _Georgia_
      (http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20100625/wl_nm/us_georgia_stalin#) and the rest of the Soviet Union, but he is revered by many in Gori.
      Another resident, who identified herself as Maya, called it "the right
      decision. It's more logical to have a memorial to victims of war than a huge
      Stalin monument."
      Widely reviled as a dictator responsible for millions of deaths, Stalin is
      held up as a hero by supporters across the former Soviet Union who say the
      country could not have defeated Nazi Germany or become a superpower without
      his leadership.
      For many Georgians including pro-Western _President Mikheil Saakashvili_
      (http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20100625/wl_nm/us_georgia_stalin#) , the monument
      was a symbol of Moscow's lingering influence two decades after the small
      nation gained independence in the 1991 Soviet collapse. Resentment of Russia
      flared with the five-day war in August 2008.
      "There is no place for such an ugly idol in Georgia," Culture Minister Nika
      Rurua said.
      Officials said, however, that the monument would be moved to the courtyard
      of Gori's Stalin museum -- not discarded.
      "A new monument dedicated to victims of the _Russian aggression_
      (http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20100625/wl_nm/us_georgia_stalin#) will be erected at
      this place," Zviad Khmaladze, a city council leader in Gori, said in
      televised comments.
      Gori was the hardest-hit Georgian city in the 2008 war. Bombs hit the main
      square near the statue and buildings nearby.
      The _new monument_
      (http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20100625/wl_nm/us_georgia_stalin#) will also commemorate victims of Stalin's repression, Rurua said.
      The Kremlin is likely to bristle at a monument equating Russia's current
      leaders with Stalin, and the 2008 war -- which Moscow says was a morally
      justified response to _Georgian aggression_
      (http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20100625/wl_nm/us_georgia_stalin#) -- with the dictator's crimes.
      Saakashvili praised the statue's removal when asked about it at a news
      "I support the decision of the municipality and the Culture Ministry
      completely, as a museum of occupation and monuments to those who orchestrated
      that occupation cannot exist in this country at the same time," Saakashvili
      He was referring to a museum that opened in Tbilisi during his presidency
      on the years when Georgia was a Soviet republic.
      Russian troops occupied Gori for two weeks after the 2008 conflict, which
      erupted when Georgia tried to recapture the Russian-backed separatist
      province of South Ossetia, just north of the city.
      Russia recognized South Ossetia's independence after the war and has
      strengthened its grip on the rebel region.
      Gori hosts some smaller statues and busts of Stalin as well as the museum
      dedicated to the late leader, who was born in Gori in 1879 and ruled the
      Soviet Union from 1924 until his death.
      Mainly elderly supporters gather outside the colonnaded museum twice a
      year, on his birthday and the day of his death.
      (Editing by Steve Gutterman and Myra MacDonald)

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