• Stalin in Georgia

    • May 28, 2015 - 11:02 pm
    • Georgia, Stalin
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    By Maryna Polataiko for postcommunistmonuments.ca

    Iosif Stalin, still in Gori (Georgia)


    Although recent history has seen a wave of demolition hitting Soviet monuments, small-town Georgia enjoys a contrary sentiment towards memories of the USSR. Marking the anniversary of Stalin’s death, residents of Stalin’s hometown, Gori, gathered before the Stalin Museum to pay tribute. The monument was dismantled in June 2010, under the presidency of Mikheil Saakashvili. However, in July 2013 Georgian Ministry of Culture made a decision to restore the monument based on the petition of the city council of Gori.

    Similar support can be found in Tsromi—the town where then runaway Stalin hid from the Tsar—where one of Georgia’s last statues of the dictator remains with the backing of public support. Threatened by Georgia’s prohibition on public displays of Soviet emblems, the statue was moved into Tsromi’s Stalin Museum following a town petition to maintain it.




    “Georgia Marks the Anniversary of Stalin’s Death.” The Straits Time, March 6, 2015. Accessed March 20, 2015. http://www.straitstimes.com/news/world/europe/story/georgia-marks-the-anniversary-stalins-death-20150306.


    Caitlin Hu. “This Town is Putting Up Statues of Stalin Everywhere—Even Though It’s Illegal.” Quartz, November 8, 2014. Accessed November 20, 2014. http://qz.com/292901/this-town-is-putting-up-statues-of-stalin-everywhere-even-though-its-illegal/.


    Henry Roe. “Stalin Was Here.” Souciant, February 2014, 2015. Accessed March 1, 2015. http://souciant.com/2015/02/stalin-was-here/.


    «Сталин возвращается в Гори.» Грузия Online, July 29, 2013. Accessed October 25, 2014. http://www.apsny.ge/2013/soc/1375150890.php.

  • Stalin (not) in Telavi

    • January 3, 2014 - 3:21 pm
    • Georgia, Stalin
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    TBILISI, December 31 (RIA Novosti) – A statue of Soviet leader Josef Stalin was demolished on Tuesday in the eastern Georgian city of Telavi months after being vandalized, local media said. The three-meter-high statue, part of a World War II memorial, was commissioned by the local Stalinets social group and the Union of Veterans in September, but was vandalized with red paint hours after being unveiled. The vandals also wrote “Murderer,” “Down with Stalinism!” and swear words on a nearby wall. The city municipality denied issuing any permission to install the statue and ordered it to be removed within five days. Activists said they were not going to comply with the administration’s order and announced the start of a campaign to collect signatures in support of the statue. The authorities had to allocate about $400 from the city budget to eventually tear the monument down. Stalin evokes mixed memories in Russia and other former Soviet republics, particularly in his native Georgia. While being credited with leading Russia to victory in World War II and strengthening the country, he is also remembered for sending millions of people to death in concentration camps during the infamous purges of the 1930s, and for carrying out particularly savage repressions in the Caucasus, including Georgia.

    and . . .

    RFE/RL, December 31, 2013

    Georgian Stalin Monument Removed, Months After Being Raised

    A monument to Soviet dictator Josef Stalin has been removed in the eastern Georgian city of Telavi. Police were present during the monument's removal on December 31. Telavi authorities say the monument was placed near a World War II veterans' memorial in Telavi without official permission. The monument has been vandalized several times since it was first unveiled on September 1. It was made with money collected by the nongovernmental organization Stalinist and the Union of Georgia's Veterans. Stalinist's leader, Shota Lazariashvili, condemned the monument's removal, calling the authorities' decision "a shame." Telavi is about 110 kilometers from Stalin's birthplace, Gori, in central Georgia.

    Telavi's Stalin monument has been vandalized several times since it was first unveiled on September 1.

    Copyright (c) 2012. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

  • Stalin in Georgia

    • December 22, 2013 - 9:39 pm
    • Georgia, Stalin
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    Stalin's birthday, December 21, 2013, has come and gone, and still no sign of the promised new Stalin statue:

    RFE/RL, July 30, 2013

    Georgia To Restore Monument In Stalin Birthplace

    Georgia's Culture Ministry has announced that a monument to Josef Stalin will be restored in the late Soviet dictator's birthplace. The ministry's spokeswoman, Elena Samkharadze, said on July 30 that the monument in Gori will be restored by December 21, Stalin's birthdate. The monument was torn down amid a crackdown on Soviet-era monuments by pro-Western President Mikheil Saakashvili in 2010.

    FROM THE ARCHIVE: Gori Residents Divided Over Stalin Statue's Removal

    Saakashvili's presidential term does not end until October, but his authority has been further weakened by a constitutional reform that has shifted powers from the presidency to parliament and new Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili. Speaking on July 30, Saakashvili said the move is anti-Georgian and barbaric and he is "outraged with it."

    VIDEO REPORT: In Stalin's Birthplace, A Divided Legacy

    The 6-meter bronze monument to Stalin is currently lying on the ground at a Georgian Defense Ministry military base in Gori. A spokesperson for the ministry told reporters that the statue will not be returned to its original pedestal in Gori's central square but will be erected at the town's Stalin Museum.
    Based on reporting by AP and Interfax

    Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty © 2013 RFE/RL, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


    So, instead, let's catch up on Stalin-related events in 2012, before our website went up . . .

    From Reuters:

    Georgian village reinstates Stalin monument to mark anniversary

    Fri, Dec 21 2012

    By Margarita Antidze and David Mdzinarishvili

    ZEMO ALVANI, Georgia (Reuters) - Residents of a mountainous village in the former Soviet republic of Georgia reinstated a monument to dictator Josef Stalin on Friday to mark the 133rd birthday anniversary of their famous compatriot.

    Some 30 residents of the village of Zemo Alvani, 200 kilometers (124 miles) north-east of the capital Tbilisi, gathered to witness the unveiling of the three-meter-high stone statue of Stalin.

    The statue was removed a year ago by local authorities after President Mikheil Saakashvili said the late dictator was too closely associated with what he called the "Soviet occupation of Georgia" and called for memorials to Stalin to be dismantled.

    "I came here because I love Stalin and I love my people ... I remember when I was 12 how my grandmother was weeping when Stalin died," said Phatima Patishvili, a Zemo Alvani resident.

    The monument's reinstatement is a sign that Stalin's personality cult is still alive across the former Soviet Union where supporters credit him with the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany during World War Two and with turning the country into a superpower.

    However, for many Georgians, including for pro-Western President Saakashvili, the few remaining monuments to Stalin are an unwelcome reminder of Moscow's lingering influence in Georgia two decades after the small nation gained independence following the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union.

    Resentment of Russia flared in Georgia when the two fought a brief war in August 2008.

    Saakashvili and others also believe it is wrong to still venerate a man who oversaw the purges, the Gulag prison camp system and man-made famines that killed millions.

    Georgia's former government, then led by Saakashvili allies, removed another Stalin monument in 2010 - a 6-metre-high bronze statue in the dictator's native town of Gori.

    The authorities were planning to replace it with a monument to victims of Stalin's purges and to those of the 2008 five-day war, but the project was never implemented.

    Georgia's new government of billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili wants to improve ties with Russia. It said it did not oppose the reinstatement of the Stalin monument in Zemo Alvani.

    It also said it would finance the restoration of the Stalin monument in Gori, the Georgian city most affected by the 2008 war that saw Moscow recognize the two breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent states.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that Russia would not reverse its decision.

    A coalition led by Ivanishvili, who made his fortune in Russia, won Georgia's October 1 parliamentary election ending a long period of political domination by Saakashvili, who first rose to power as leader of the 2003 "rose" revolution.

    (Writing by Margarita Antidze; Editing by Gabriela Baczynska and Andrew Osborn)


    AND THEN . . .

    RFE/RL, September 02, 2013

    Vandals Damage New Stalin Monument

    A new monument to Soviet dictator Josef Stalin in Georgia has been vandalized hours after it was unveiled.Unknown individuals overnight poured orange paint on the 2-meter statue in the town of Telavi, some 100 kilometers from the capital, Tbilisi.It was erected and unveiled on September 1 by a local Stalin society next to a monument dedicated to soldiers who died during World War II.

    In December, to mark the 134th anniversary of Stalin's birth, his hometown of Gori plans to reerect a statue that was removed by the government of President Mikheil Saakashvili in 2010.

    Saakashvili led a campaign against monuments to the Georgia-born dictator, saying the country could not simultaneously host a museum for victims of Soviet occupation and monuments honoring those who carried out that occupation.

    Based on reporting by Apsny.ge and Lenta.ru

    Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty © 2013 RFE/RL, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

  • Stalin's birthday marked in Russia and beyond

    Stalin kiss 12-12
    Ushangi Davitashvili kisses the bust of Soviet dictator Josef Stalin that stands in the courtyard of his apartment building in the Georgian capital, Tbilisi, Friday, Dec. 21, 2012. Photo: Shakh Aivazov / AP
    Updated 12:51 pm, Friday, December 21, 2012

    TBILISI, Georgia (AP) — People across the vast territory where Josef Stalin once imposed his terror have marked the 133rd anniversary of the dictator's birth, some in hatred but others in reverence.

    In Moscow, several hundred Russian Communists led by their leader Gennady Zuyganov laid flowers at Stalin's grave at the Red Square Friday, while smaller rallies were held across Russia and several former Soviet republics.

    Leftists in neighboring Belarus said they found a Stalin statue that was buried after denunciation of his personality cult in 1956, but refused to specify its whereabouts because they fear authorities will order its destruction. Authorities in Stalin's hometown of Gori, Georgia, they will reinstall his statue that was removed in 2010.

    In southern Ukraine, several ethnic Crimean Tatars trashed a small street exhibition on Stalin. The entire Crimean Tatar population of Ukraine was hastily deported in cattle trains on Stalin's orders in 1944 for their alleged collaboration with Nazi Germans during World War II. Of the 200,000 Crimean Tatars, almost a fifth died of starvation and diseases, and the survivors were allowed to return only in the late 1980s.

    According to the prominent Russian right group Memorial, Stalin ordered the deaths of at least 724,000 people during the purges and repression of the 1930s, while millions died as a result of the forced labor system in Gulags, the Soviet prison system.

    But, some people believe he was a strong and valiant leader whose grip on the nation was needed for security and his popularity in Russia has been climbing amid Kremlin-backed efforts to defend his image.


    Mansur Mirovalev contributed to this story from Moscow.