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Stalin Verdict for the Statue of Stalin

Saba Tsitsikashvili, Gori

Gori district municipal board hinders the publicity of the order-document on the dismantling of the Stalin’s Statue in Gori. Before June 25, the day of dismantling, the board members did not discuss the issue at all. The chairman of the board claims they had made decision on June 16. The Human Rights Center has been trying to get hold of the document since June 25 but in vain.

“Simply I could not imagine that they would dare to remove the statue from here,” said the board member Davit Razmadze. He personally attended the final session of the previous board on June 16, 2010 where the decision about dismantling of the Stalin’s Statue was made. Razmadze is chairman of the Gori office of the opposition party Alliance for Georgia. He is member of the new municipal board too and said that they did not speak about it publicly because did not expect the government to do it.

“By the way, I did not support the idea at the session. I thought it was next PR-action of the authority. I could not imagine they would really do it,” said Davit Razmadze.

Current chairman of the municipal board Zviad Khmaladze clarified in his interview with us that the previous municipal board made decision on the dismantling of the statue on June 16. Khmaladze did not tell us who raised the question at the session. However, Davit Razmadze recalled that the district administration had initiated it.

“I definitely know that the municipal board did not discuss the issue. The district administration raised the question at the large session,” said Davit Razmadze.

Head of the district administration office Kakha Toliashvili told us he did not have information about the issue. “I do not know anything about this fact.” On June 25, a session was scheduled for 2:00 pm at Gori municipal board. The session was postponed for 6:00 pm. Although everybody was waiting for the discussion of the question about Stalin’s statue, representatives of neither ruling party nor the opposition party mentioned it.

Head of Gori office of the Christian-Democrat Movement Zurab Rosebashvili does not like the form how the statue was removed. “I do exercises early in the morning in the Gori Park. I passed through the central square but did not notice the statue was removed. Then I learned about it in the park. They should have inquired public opinion. Two sessions have been held in the new municipal board but nobody has ever mentioned the statue. I am surprised with the fact.”

Reportedly, one part of population submitted petition to the Gori district administration with signatures. Shalva Tlashadze, who moved to a civil organization from the opposition party, claims that the signatures were collected among teachers.

The location of the statue is not reported yet. The board member Davit Razmadze recalled that they discussed only dismantling of the statue at the session on June 16. “Nobody discussed where the statue would be taken after dismantling,” said Razmadze.

On June 16 after the session, we requested the resolution at the office of the municipal board. The head of the office Guram Dabrundashvili told us they could give the document on June 28.

It is irony of fate – the National Movement passed Stalin verdict of Stalin’s statue – they disappeared the statue like Stalinist-Chekist repressive machine used to kidnap people at midnight. However, the society should remember that it is different time now and the government is accountable to the people in their decisions and activities.
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