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Picking Up The Pieces Of The Georgian War Memorial Tragedy

Only a pile of rubble exists where this war memorial once stood in Kutaisi.

Only a pile of rubble exists where this war memorial once stood in Kutaisi.

If the story of Georgia's destroyed Glory Memorial began as a tragedy, it is ending as farce.

Today, Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov picked up on Vladimir Putin's wily proposal that the Soviet-era Kutaisi monument -- razed, with tragic consequences, by order of Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili -- be rebuilt in a more appreciative city.

Like Moscow!

Luzkhov said the 46-meter concrete-and-bronze arch, which honors the 300,000 Georgian victims of World War II, will be replicated in the Russian capital's Poklonnaya Gora war memorial complex.

Georgian sculptor Merab Berdzenishvili, the 82-year-old creator of the Glory Memorial, says he has kept no sketches of his design, and has declined to comment on the Russian initiative.

But a little thing like missing sketches isn't likely to stand in the way of a mischievous Putin plan.

Georgia's anti-Saakashvili camp appears to have come on board as well, with opposition leader Zurab Noghaideli traveling today to Moscow for talks with Putin expected to touch on the monument issue.

All that remains is to build it.

Now, if only Luzkhov knew a good place to go for concrete...

-- Daisy Sindelar

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Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at

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