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Blowing up the memorial: hurting Georgia instead of giving a blow to Russia2009-12-18 22:20
The preparation to blowing up the memorial to the fallen in the Great Patriotic War in Kutaisi attracted sharp criticism both in Georgia and abroad. Moscow is indignant at the fact that Mikhail Saakashvili's regime is deriding the memory of those who died in 1941-45 in favor of today's political interests. Tbilisi is outraged with the authorities who are ignoring the people's opinion. This was stated by Christian Democract Georgi Akhvlediani in his interview to GeorgiaTimes.
The monument should be blown up; it cannot be dismantled. This must be the way the Georgian government was evidently thinking while sealing the fate of one of the most magnificent monuments dedicated to the heroes of the Great Patriotic War. It would have required grater costs to transfer the monumental complex in Kutaisi to another spot, so the authorities decided to demolish it by putting explosives around it.
However, the mines under the monument exploded with the people's indignation. It was the opposition and cultural figures who spoke against the demolition of the monument. One of the leaders of the Georgian Republican party David Berdzenashvili estimated it as an act of vandalism. Historian Malkhazi Kakushadze stated that this is the way Mikhail Saakashvili "is getting rid of Stalin's heritage".
Kutaisi department of the Christian-Democratic Movement (CDM) of Georgia expressed its protest as well. Members of the movement also regarded this governmental action as "crossing out" the history and an act of vandalism. "We believe this is nothing but disrespect to the veterans of the Patriotic War and an insult to the memory of the people who died in the war", - they stated.
However, as was explained to GeorgiaTimes by the minority delegate of the parliament Georgi Akhvlediani, the CDM head office was primarily indignant at the government's authoritarian approach to such decisions.
"In Georgia, the authorities have got the habit of taking decisions without agreeing them first with the people. There have been plenty of examples of how the people woke in the morning to find a memorial in some other place, although no one had known that it was going to be moved there", - the Chrisitan-Democrat told. He gave an example of moving the monument to David the Builder from the center of Tbilisi to the city entrance, as well as the dismantling of the monument to Memed Abashidze in Batumi and fixing it up in another place. "This was the way the monument to writer and poet Ilya Chavchavadze disappeared from its place in Batumi", - Akhvlediani added.
The delegate, however, underlined that the monument to the fallen in the Great Patriotic War in Kutaisi will not be just moved to another spot but is going to be demolished. When asked about the promise to erect a new memorial given by one of representatives of the Kutaisi Mayor's Offcie, GeorgiaTimes' interlocutor explained that the point at issue was just one of the memorial elements.
The only element of the composition, a young warrior with a sword ahorse, will survive the demolition. But this small figure cannot represent the idea of the memorial complex erected in 1981. An arch was towering over the horseman, symbolizing the Heaven and Motherland but now the warrior is moved and fixed up in front of a sports complex in Kutaisi...
"The government asked neither the people, nor the author of the monument, sculptor Merab Berdzenishvili, who is even said to have had a heart attack", - Akhvlediani noted. - This is done for the sake of "another stupid idea of transferring the parliament to Kutaisi", - he added.