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Luzhkov chooses place for Georgian memorial

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Author: Nina Akhmeteli

After yesterday’s suggestion of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to recreate the Glory Memorial in Moscow, the issue has headlined Russian media.

As Ria Novosti reported, Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov told journalists that the demolished monument in Kutaisi will probably be recreated on Poklonaya Gora in Moscow.

He said that the place will be known probably tomorrow.

The monument’s building will be funded partly by Georgian diaspora, Luzhkov said, adding that “another very interesting mechanism for funding will be offered.”

“This [demolition of the memorial] is the next attempt to erase the people’s memory of the Soviet Union and common past, including heroic past. Because of it I think it is possible to recreate this monument in the capital of a once unified state,” Putin was quoted as saying at a government presidium session.

He said that the issue needs to be discussed with the memorial’s author and Russian specialists.

“Moscow authorities should find a valuable place for this monument. I reckon very much that this initiative will be supported by Russian and Georgian societies,” Putin said.

The author, renowned sculptor Merab Berdzenishvili, has already said that the drafts and models of the Glory Memorial are lost. Berdzenishvili told Ria Novosti that he is too old to undertake such a complicated task as recreating the memorial.

The author was not notified in advance about the decision to demolish the Memorial.

The decision to demolish the Memorial caused protests among society and the opposition. The blowing up of the memorial, which resulted in the death of two people, heated tensions and many blamed the government.

Justice for Georgia leader and former PM  Zurab Noghaideli pledged at a rally in Kutaisi on Dec. 21 that the memorial will be restored and at the place of the tragedy a church will be build.

Doctor of Historical Science Giorgi Anchabadze also assessed the decision to tear down the memorial as improper and unjustified.

“I do not think it is the right move because Georgia’s role in that war was big and many Georgian people died,” Anchabadze told Georgia Today. “The memorial was a link for the relatives with their ancestries who died in that war.”

However, analysts in Tbilisi are skeptical about the Russian PM’s offer.

“It just looks like using the current situation to show off,” Anchabadze said.

 

23 December Wed 2009, 21:01:23

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