Statue of Mass Murderer Finally Removed from Gori's Central Square
"Georgian authorities, seeking to purge their country of Soviet monuments, on Friday removed a statue of Stalin from the central square of Gori, Stalin's birthplace. It had stood there for 48 years." Source of caption and photo: online version of the NYT article quoted and cited below.
(p. A4) GORI, Georgia -- In the predawn darkness on Friday, Georgian authorities carried out a clandestine operation in Gori's central square. Wrapping thick cables around Stalin's neck and under one of his armpits, they hoisted him off the pedestal where he has stood for 48 years and set him nose-first on the back of a flatbed truck.
. . .
On Friday, the culture minister, Nikolos Rurua, dismissed reports that the removal was intentionally kept quiet, pointing out that several camera crews were present. He said the vast majority of Georgians shared his view of Stalin as "a mass murderer and a political criminal."
. . .
Last summer vandals painted the statue's base with the phrases "Get off your pedestal!" and "Your place is in the museum!"
Mikheil Jeriashvili, a 19-year-old medical student, said that he was delighted at the news and that he would be happier if the authorities "removed this statue completely, or burned it or something."
"I would prefer if he had been born in another town altogether," he said.
(Note: the online version of the article is dated June 25, 2010.)
(Note: ellipses added.)