Statue of Stalin in Gori that is returning (photograph by Martijn Munneke, via Flickr)
Only those evil live to see their own likeness in stone, to quote the band Why?’s “By Torpedo or Chron’s,” and Joseph Stalin certainly saw his graven image in the thousands. Most were toppled and mutilated in the fallout from his reign and under the direction of Nikita Khrushchev following Stalin’s death in 1953. However, some remained, including one in the town square of his hometown of Gori, Georgia, until it was secretly torn down in the middle of the night by the government in 2010. But now he’s returning.
As the Moscow Times reports: ”The decision to re-erect the statue in Gori was made by the Georgian Culture Ministry at the request of the town assembly, news site Gruziya Online reported. That decision was confirmed to The Associated Press by the ministry’s spokeswoman, Yelena Samkharadze.”
Stalin, despite his tyrannical and brutal rule, still retains some nostalgic respect in his hometown, which houses the Stalin Museum that opened in 1937 by his birthplace. The statue was in fact originally going to be moved to the museum and replaced in the main square by a memorial to those who perished under Stalin as well as during the 2008 Georgia–Russia crisis that was devastating for Gori. However, it was discovered it had actually been dumped outside the city near an abandoned building. Now the plan is to place the statue back in its towering position for the anniversary of Stalin’s December 18, 1878 birthday.
While this Stalin may be returning as an odd monument to a hometown hero who was to most of the world a monster, there are still fragments of Stalin scattered around, tossed aside and abandoned or kept as reminders of the dictatorship. Here are a few that are not likely to resurrect, even while one of their likenesses returns:
Partly-carved, mutilated statue of Stalin in a former statue workshop in Albania (photograph by grofjardanhazy, via Flickr)
Toppled Stalin at the Estonian History Museum (photograph by Ferran Cornellà, via Wikimedia)
A statue at the Warsaw Palace of Culture and Science where Stalin’s name was erased from this statue’s book (via Wikimedia)
Fragment of a statue of Stalin and Lenin in Olomouc, Czech Republic (photograph by Jan Jenista, via Wikimedia)
The giant Stalin statue in Prague that was finished in 1955, and destroyed in 1962 (photograph by Miroslav Vopata, via Wikimedia)
The monument in Prague today with the statue removed (photograph by Zatim Zadne, via Wikimedia)
Stalin statue beheaded in Hungary’s October Revolution (via Wikimedia)
SHADOWS OF STALIN:
MEMENTO PARK, Budapest, Hungary
FALLEN MONUMENT PARK, Moscow, Russia
STALIN MUSEUM, Gori, Georgia