MOSCOW -- A Russian presidential aide has said it would be "extremely bizarre" for the Kremlin to invite Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili to Moscow for Victory Day celebrations on May 9 to mark the German surrender in World War II, RFE/RL's Echo of the Caucasus reports.
Sergei Prikhodko, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's top foreign policy adviser, said on April 21 that it would be "absolutely inappropriate" to invite Saakashvili in light of his decision to "to destroy a monument to the heroes of World War II."
In December, Saakashvili ordered the destruction
of a 46-meter-high monument to Soviet veterans of World War II that was standing in the city of Kutaisi. The action was widely criticized in Moscow, with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin pledging
to recreate the statue by prominent Soviet-era sculptor Merab Berdzenishvili in the Russian capital.
Prikhodko said the Kremlin has sent invitations for the May 9 ceremonies to the leaders of all members of the Commonwealth of Independent States, a grouping that Georgia officially left last year.
Other foreign leaders expected to be in Moscow are German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Nicholas Sarkozy, and Czech President Vaclav Klaus.