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Stalin statue to be restored in Georgian city

Los Angeles Times

A bronze statue of Josef Stalin will soon rise five stories over the museum dedicated to his brutal legacy in the small Georgian town of Gori, where he was born in 1878, the Culture Ministry in the former Soviet republic announced yesterday.

The 20-foot-tall statue of the Soviet dictator was toppled in the dark of night from its 30-foot pedestal three years ago as vestiges of the totalitarian era in the Caucasus republic were eradicated by pro-Western President Mikhail Saakashvili. It has been lying on the grounds of a military base.

The monument previously stood in Gori's central square. Plans for its reinstatement indicate it will be erected in the yard of the Museum of Stalinism, adjacent to the small home in which the dictator was born.

Saakashvili said he was outraged by the town's decision and the Culture Ministry's approval of the plan. "Restoring the Stalin monument in the 21st century is an unimaginably barbaric, anti-Georgian, anti-national, anti-state act, because it puts Georgia in international isolation," the president, who leaves office in October, was quoted as saying.

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