Monday, 14 October 2013

Iron Felix to stay put - again

Back in 2002, I wrote on my old web site about proposals by the then Mayor of Moscow, Yuri Luzhkov, to restore the statue of KGB founder, Felix Dzherzhinsky, to its former position in the centre of Lubyanka Square outside the KGB offices.

"the Moscow City Duma's monuments committee rejected an appeal by Communist Party members in Irkutsk for Dzerzhinsky's return. The Communists said in a letter sent last month that the monument to Dzerzhinsky was a "symbol of the fight against crime." 
A long-simmering drive to resurrect Dzerzhinsky from his graveyard at the Central House of Artists gained momentum in October when Luzhkov declared that the 16-ton statue was an "excellent" monument that had been "the highlight of Lubyanskaya Ploshchad." "We should remember that he solved the problem of homeless children and bailed out the railroads in a period of devastation," Luzhkov said at the time. 

His remarks were an about-face from four years earlier when he fiercely opposed the statue's return. Liberal politicians slammed Luzhkov for supporting the return of a man blamed for the deaths of millions in the 1920s and 1930s. 

The statue, one of the more notorious icons of the Soviet past, was toppled from its pedestal near the former headquarters of the KGB by protesters after the failed coup by Communist hard-liners in August 1991.
Dzherzhinsky's statue along with with other communist statues were daubed in grafitti and unceremoniously dumped in the park next to the Central House of Artists in Moscow.  However, in recent years the statues have been cleaned up and returned to an upright position in in the sculpture park." (
11 Years later and they are still talking about putting Felix back on the Lubyanka Square pedastal.  On Saturday, Moscow city lawmaker, Andrei Metelsky, said that the Dzerzhinsky statue was a historical landmark and could return to its place in front of the Federal Security Service's headquarters (the KGB's successor) after the monument's restoration, at the cost of 50 million rubles ($1.5 million).  However, the city legislators were quick to refute that claim: Vladimir Platonov - legislature speaker - said that the city parliament made no plans concerning the return of the statue of Felix "Iron Felix" Dzerzhinsky.

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