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Putin Suggests Resurrecting Georgian Monument In Moscow

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin (file photo)
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin (file photo)
MOSCOW, December 22, 2009 (RFE/RL) -- Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin says the Soviet-era monument commemorating victims and veterans of World War II that was demolished in Georgia could be restored in Moscow, RFE/RL's Georgian Service reports.

Putin told a Russian cabinet session in Moscow today that the demolition of the memorial complex in the Georgian city of Kutaisi was another "attempt to erase the memory of the joint past of the former Soviet nations."

He added that he thinks it is possible to resurrect the monument in the Russian capital.

Putin added that many Russian citizens -- including ethnic Georgians in Russia -- would contribute money to restore the monument.

The 50-meter-high monument was demolished on December 19, accidentally killing a woman and her 8-year-old daughter who lived nearby.

Amid public outcry, the opposition has blamed Georgian authorities for the tragedy.

The Georgian government said it demolished the memorial to make room for a new building that will host some sessions of the national parliament.

Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili on December 20 sacked Mikheil Chogovadze, the governor of the Imereti region, over the incident.

Three managers of the demolition company have since been arrested.