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Georgia To Restore Monument In Stalin Birthplace

The giant bronze statue of Soviet dictator Josef Stalin was removed from its pedestal on the central square of his hometown of Gori on June 25, 2010.
Georgia's Culture Ministry has announced that a monument to Josef Stalin will be restored in the late Soviet dictator's birthplace.

The ministry's spokeswoman, Elena Samkharadze, said on July 30 that the monument in Gori will be restored by December 21, Stalin's birthdate.

The monument was torn down amid a crackdown on Soviet-era monuments by pro-Western President Mikheil Saakashvili in 2010.

FROM THE ARCHIVE: Gori Residents Divided Over Stalin Statue's Removal

Saakashvili's presidential term does not end until October, but his authority has been further weakened by a constitutional reform that has shifted powers from the presidency to parliament and new Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili.

Speaking on July 30, Saakashvili said the move is anti-Georgian and barbaric and he is "outraged with it."

VIDEO REPORT: In Stalin's Birthplace, A Divided Legacy

The 6-meter bronze monument to Stalin is currently lying on the ground at a Georgian Defense Ministry military base in Gori.

A spokesperson for the ministry told reporters that the statue will not be returned to its original pedestal in Gori's central square but will be erected at the town's Stalin Museum.

Based on reporting by AP and Interfax