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Kazakh Officials Demolish Monument To Victims Of Political Repression

The site in Atyrau where the monument used to exist

The site in Atyrau where the monument used to exist

ATYRAU, Kazakhstan -- A monument to victims of Soviet political repression in the western Kazakh city of Atyrau was demolished this week by officials who want to build new buildings and a parking complex on that location, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reports.

Atyrau's lead architect, Talghat Kasenov, told RFE/RL that the monument was erected in 2002 without proper documentation. Local authorities decided to demolish it and construct a new building instead.

Locals say the monument was demolished shortly after the death of its initiator, Zhanibek Berdiyev, who had spent many years in jail during the Soviet era.

His widow, Muksimat Temirgalieva, told RFE/RL that the monument was built with money raised by activists and other citizens.

City officials promised that a new monument commemorating the victims of Soviet dictator Josef Stalin will be raised in the city's Victory Park, on the city's outskirts, by May 31.

Activists in Atyrau say the new location is too far from the city center.