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Moving monuments

By Messenger Staff
Monday, August 12
Georgia’s previous administration – the United National Movement (UNM), spent a lot of time erecting, destroying and removing monuments. Soon after the Russian attack on Georgia in August of 2008, Joseph Stalin’s monument was removed from the center of his birthplace in Gori with the promise that it will be moved to the Stalin Museum in Gori.

During the same period in Kutaisi, a monument commemorating Georgia’s fallen heroes was dismantled and construction work on the new parliamentary building was hastily started in its place.

Passion runs deep concerning the return of the David the Builder’s monument from Dighomi back to the center of Tbilisi.

David the Builder’s monument stood in front of the current Radisson Hotel (formerly the Iveria) and was moved from its original location without any public discussions, consultations or opinions. No appropriate document exists with such an order; the monument was simply moved upon the verbal order of President Mikheil Saakashvili. The monument was moved and in its place, a bicycle with two steering wheels was erected there. Once it was moved, a protest rally in Tbilisi followed.

The square in front of Radisson Hotel was named Rose Revolution Square. However, since the Rose Administration has lost power, there have started discussions over the return of David the Builder’s monument to the center of Tbilisi.

During the times when Georgia was fighting to regaining its independence in the early 90s, the monuments of the communist party leaders Vladimir Lenin, Sergo Orjonikidze, and others were removed and destroyed in Georgia.

In the Baltic countries, these kinds of monuments were placed in the Museum of Soviet History, which was a more reasonable and rational decision.

However, Georgians are always more radical. So, a new public movement has emerged, which demands the return of David the Builder’s monument to its original location.

The News.Ge agency carried out online polling over the possible return of Davit the Builder’s statue to the center of Tbilisi. Over 30% of the respondents liked the idea, while over 60% did not.

There were several strange pieces of art erected in various parts of the country during the Rose administration, which were probably subordinated to the taste and opinion of the one single person – President Saakashvili. For instance, in the center of Mestia, there is a controversial monument of Queen Tamar of Georgia, which raised questions among the local population. There was also a movable monument of Ali and Nino Batumi; for some time there was a strange sculpture of sea slippers standing on eggs in Batumi, which was soon removed; and a sculpture of Amirani (Prometheus) in the center of Tbilisi, which was also later moved to Borjomi Park. There is a weird obelisk in the center of Tbilisi at Hero Square which has the inscription of the names of fallen Georgian soldiers. However, nobody can read them, as it is difficult to approach the monument as it is standing in the middle of the Macaroni junction. Once President Saakashvili even joked (or was he serious?) that there are a lot of places left for more names.

To removing and destroying these monuments has a long history starting from ancient times. The Greeks did this so, as well as the Egyptians and Romans. However, nobody had ever asked ordinary people and considered their opinion.

Overall, these monuments often symbolize a certain ambition for power.