Stalin hometown statue removed

2010-06-25 20:47

Gori - Authorities removed a towering statue of Soviet dictator Josef Stalin from the central square of his hometown in the dead of the night on Friday, carting away the monument to Georgia's most famous native.

The 6m-high bronze statue will be moved to the courtyard of a museum dedicated to Stalin in his native Gori and replaced on the main square by a monument to victims of Georgia's 2008 war with Russia, a local official said.

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 80km west of the capital, Tbilisi.

"It was very unexpected," Lado Bichashvili, a journalist with local television company Trialeti, said. "I think many people will be very angry."

He said police tried to prevent journalists from filming the process, in some cases beating them.

"This monument will be moved to the courtyard of the Stalin museum," Zviad Khmaladze, a city council leader, said later in televised comments. "A new monument dedicated to victims of the Russian aggression will be erected at this place."

Outward signs of Stalin's pervasive personality cult were removed after his death in 1953 across Georgia and the rest of the Soviet Union, but he is revered by many in his hometown.

It was one of the few monuments to Stalin still standing anywhere.

"People from around the world used to visit Gori to see this statue and to pay their respects to Stalin," said Nugzar Lamazov, who lives in a nearby village.

Statue's presence immoral

Widely reviled as a dictator responsible for millions of deaths in political purges, labour camps and forced agricultural collectivisation, Stalin is held up as a hero by supporters who say the Soviet Union would not have defeated Nazi Germany or industrialised without him.

For many Georgians including pro-Western President Mikheil Saakashvili, the monument was a symbol of Moscow's lingering influence two decades after the small nation gained independence in the 1991 Soviet collapse.

Gori was the hardest-hit Georgian city in the five-day war with Russia in August 2008. Bombs hit the main square near the statue and buildings nearby.

Gori was occupied by Russian troops for weeks after the conflict, which erupted when Georgia sought to recapture the Russian-backed separatist province of South Ossetia, just north of the city.

After the conflict, some officials and prominent Georgians called for the monument's removal, saying its presence in Gori was immoral after the Russian bombardment and occupation.

The government will hold a competition for the design of the monument to the war victims, Culture Ministry spokesperson Salome Macharashvili said.

Russia recognised South Ossetia's independence after the war and has strengthened its grip on the rebel region.

Gori also hosts some smaller statues and busts of Stalin as well as the museum dedicated to the late leader, who was born on December 21 1879.

Mainly elderly supporters traditionally gather outside the colonnaded museum twice a year, on his birthday and the day of his death.

Stalin, whose real name was Dzhugashvili, ruled the Soviet Union from 1924 until his death in 1953.

Read more on:    josef stalin  |  russia  |  georgia
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

Sexiest Instagrams of 2014

Check out some of the sexiest celebrity Instagrams of 2014!

 
 

I love summer.24

Joburg hot spots for cocktails, craft beer, tapas and wine!
Summer Survey!
Great ideas for the best summer sandwiches!
Christmas lingerie to make this festive season the best one ever!

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2DAYS ONLY – 30% off Appliances

Coffee makers, blenders, fans, juicers and more. T&Cs apply. Shop now!

2 DAYS ONLY – 40% off books

Get 40% off when you buy 2 books. For two days only! T&Cs apply. Buy now!

Up to 50% off on outdoor gear

Save on chairs, blankets, cooler bags, umbrellas and more. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

The energy today is serious, materialistic and hardworking. You may find you get a new outlook on things and you may want to spend...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.