TASHKENT -- Uzbek President Islam Karimov has unveiled a new monument as a replacement for Soviet monuments in downtown Tashkent that were taken down last year, RFE/RL's Uzbek Service reports.
Called the Oath to the Motherland, the new monument features a gold-plated statue of an Uzbek soldier kneeling to kiss the national flag and a praying soldier's mother in the background.
Karimov said at the opening ceremony that "We may be proud that over a short period of time in Uzbekistan a mobile, well-armed, and technically equipped army...[that can] repulse any aggressor" has been created.
An Uzbek Academy of Arts official told RFE/RL that the monument by sculptor Jaloliddin Mirtojiev was created in one month.
A Defense Ministry official said the Defender of the Motherland statue, the Soviet monument that was removed from the park by authorities, did not represent the values and the current state of the Uzbek army.
An official from Uzbekistan's monument preservation office told RFE/RL that the Soviet monument was moved to a workshop where several other Soviet-era monuments are kept.
In November, officials removed all the monuments in Tashkent's Park of Military Glory, including the Defender of the Motherland, devoted to Soviet soldiers, as well as Soviet planes, rockets, tanks, and cannons. The park was built in 1973.
An Uzbek Defense Ministry official said the move ends the contradiction that existed between the old Soviet monuments and the nearby Uzbek Armed Forces Museum, as well as the modern reading of Uzbek history.