Recently, my colleague Ilya Shapiro noted that the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Virginia shamefully erected a bust of Josef Stalin. Ilya noted that “Stalin merits no memorial, but his victims do.” I couldn’t agree more. And it seems that those in Stalin’s hometown, Gori, Georgia, agree as well–kinda.
Authorities removed a towering statue of Soviet dictator Josef Stalin from the central square of his hometown in the dead of the night on Friday, carting away the monument to Georgia’s most famous native.
The 20-foot high bronze statue will be moved to the courtyard of a museum dedicated to Stalin in his native Gori and replaced on the main square by a monument to victims of Georgia’s 2008 war with Russia, a local official said.
While the new monument will not honor the victims of Stalin’s aggression, it will honor the victims of the aggression of Stalin’s successors in interest who waged the 2008 war against Georgia.
For many Georgians including pro-Western President Mikheil Saakashvili, the monument was a symbol of Moscow’s lingering influence two decades after the small nation gained independence in the 1991 Soviet collapse.
Gori was the hardest-hit Georgian city in the five-day war with Russia in August 2008. Bombs hit the main square near the statue and buildings nearby.
Gori was occupied by Russian troops for weeks after the conflict, which erupted when Georgia sought to recapture the Russian-backed separatist province of South Ossetia, just north of the city.
Random etymological observation, but in Russian, the name of the country is pronounced as Gryzha, yet for some reason in English it becomes Georgia. No clue.