World

Georgia rebuilds Stalin monuments

People protest against the detentions of former officials in Tbilisi, December 20, 2012. REUTERS/Irakli Gedenidze

ALVANI, Georgia: A Joseph Stalin statue went back up in the Georgian village of Alvani on Friday in a sign of the slipping authority of President Mikheil Saakashvili, who had ordered its removal.

The pro-Western president is serving out what some are calling a lame-duck term ahead of elections next year from which he is barred on account of the end of his 10-year constitutional mandate.

Saakashvili's powers were weakened still further in October when the Georgian Dream party of his great rival, the tycoon Bidzina Ivanishvili, won parliamentary elections and appointed Ivanishvili as prime minister.

Although Ivanishvili is not an open supporter of the Georgian-born Soviet dictator, local authorities appear to think that they can now show up Saakashvili by returning Stalin to his place of prominence.

"We should not forget our past. We should not forget Stalin," Grigol Oniani, leader of Georgia's Communist Party, told dozens of Alvani residents who had gathered for the monument's unveiling.

In a separate case, the city council of Stalin's home town Gori voted Thursday to restore its own monument to the feared late leader -- a man whose memory helps sustain the region's tourism industry.

Saakashvili, whose forces fought a five-day war with Russia in 2008 and who has always sought to ally Georgia with the United States, had spearheaded a furious de-Stalinisation campaign.

A 2011 law, for example, banned the public display of Soviet symbols and prohibited former Communist Party and KGB security service officials from holding public office.

An annual "Soviet Occupation Day" was also launched -- a commemoration of the Red Army invasion in 1921 that forced independent Georgia to become a part of the Communist Soviet Union.

Saakashvili has not been on speaking terms with the Russian leadership since the 2008 war.

 

Recommended





Advertisement

Comments

Your feedback is important to us!

We invite all our readers to share with us their views and comments about this article.

Disclaimer: Comments submitted by third parties on this site are the sole responsibility of the individual(s) whose content is submitted. The Daily Star accepts no responsibility for the content of comment(s), including, without limitation, any error, omission or inaccuracy therein. Please note that your email address will NOT appear on the site.

Alert: If you are facing problems with posting comments, please note that you must verify your email with Disqus prior to posting a comment. follow this link to make sure your account meets the requirements. (http://bit.ly/vDisqus)

comments powered by Disqus

Advertisement

FOLLOW THIS ARTICLE

Interested in knowing more about this story?

Click here