Stalin in Gori: Memory and Monument21.02.2013 | 12:43
In the hometown of Joseph Stalin, Gori, the locals are going to restore the monument to the leader. Representatives of "United National Movement" are spreading this information. MPs from the Saakashvili's party say even the money have been allocated for this purpose from the city budget. We have wondered what did the residents of Gori and Georgian experts think about this? Whether the state supports the restoration of monuments or this is a private initiative?
Gori Stalinists and communists actively protested against the dismantling of the monument to Stalin, but their appeal has failed. The monument was removed late at night, and the residents of Gori learned about that in the morning. To cool down particularly ardent supporters of the totalitarian regime, the Georgian authorities have promised to move the monument to Stalin into the yard of his house-museum, located on one of the central streets of the city. But the promise was not fulfilled; and therefore the great leader is still in the yard of a local plant in a horizontal position.
But times are changing. After the coalition of "Georgian Dream" led by Bidzina Ivanishvili had come to power, monuments to Stalin have been restored in some areas. Despite the process was not large-scale, it has given birth to talk that allegedly a pro-communist force, restoring monuments to Soviet leaders, had come to power.
However, Stalin supporters have failed to return the former power and greatness to the monuments. The monuments to the leader have been poured with paint by the opponents in different regions of the country. In social networks, there was even a page - "50 Stalin monuments, which must be painted while you are alive".
But the Stalinists are not asleep. Recently, there was spread information that the monument to Stalin in Gori was likely to be restored outside the house-museum of the leader. The promise of previous government appears to be fulfilled today. In Gori, they say 25,000 GEL - about $ 15 thousand have been allocated from the local budget. Some Stalinists even demanded to put the monument at the old place - in the center of Gori.
"Monument will be erected near the museum of Stalin by the Victory Day - May 9", Gori resident Anna Iashvili said in an interview to GeorgiaTimes. "The city residents have controversy. Youth is against restoration of the monument, part of the adult population is also against, some stand for, and some do not care. Communists and Stalinists active stand in support of the monument. They are not so numerous, but as you see, they have managed to succeed", says Iashvili.
Parliament has even considered the issue of Stalin monuments. Representatives of the "United National Movement" raised this issue at a meeting with Georgian Foreign Minister Maya Panjikidze. The Minister was asked that question since according to the "Nationals", funding for the monument in Gori at budget expenses had been initiated by the representatives of the "Georgian Dream". "I think that people who make such initiatives do not know who Stalin was", said Panjikidze. "And this is the most terrible phenomenon of the 20th century and was equated to fascism and nazism. However I believe that we need to pay more attention to the assessment of these historical events", Panjikidze said at the meeting.
An expert on international issues Irakli Menagarishvili also speaks of the need to enhance public awareness about the Stalin era. "Of course, restoration of monuments is not systemic phenomenon, this is rather an initiative of individuals or groups", Menagarishvili said in an interview to GeorgiaTimes. "Unfortunately, in Georgia there are still people who have preserved the illusion of the Soviet period and the role of the various figures of this era. I believe that our society is also guilty for this since there has never been any real discussion and real assessment of the events in Georgia. At the same time, this is not the only issue important for Georgia, which has not been discussed by the intellectual part of society that was to do it", said Menagarishvili.
Political expert Kakha Gogolashvili believes that the restoration of monuments to Stalin in the central streets of Georgian cities will not cause a positive reaction. "As far as I know, the majority of the population of Gori is slightly worried", Gogolashvili said in an interview to GeorgiaTimes. "If this monument would not have been removed in time, then I would not be opposed to keep it. But another matter is to restore the monument now, which will be construed accordingly. Of course, this prepares the ground for talk that allegedly a pro-communist force has come to power in Georgia. But if the local population in a particular area of Georgia wills to restore the monument, let them restore", Gogolashvili said.
So, if the monument to Stalin in Gori is restored, the Stalinists have a good opportunity to continue worshipping their leader. But anti-Stalinists have an opportunity to fulfill the promise and paint 50 hated Stalin monuments. We can do nothing - this is democracy in Georgia.