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 and

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