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Restoring Dzerzhinsky

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There are good ideas. There are bad ideas. Then there are really, really bad ideas. It seems that the Moscow city government might embrace the latter.

There are plans to spend 50 million rubles to erect several monuments around Moscow. So far the agreed restorations include statues to Lermontov, Chaplygin, and Shchusev. Also being considered are statues to Herzen, Ogarev, and a monument called the “First Komsomoltsy.” Also under consideration is to restore Felix Dzerzhinsky, the founder of the Cheka, the Soviet secret police, to his pedestal on Lubyanka Square. According to the Russian press, some members of the Moscow city government think this is a grand idea.

“I think that it’s possible to restore [Dzerzhinsky] and put him back in place. But then it’s unclear why he was taken down in the first place. If they say that the money has been allocated [to return the statue], then it should be done,” says Andrei Metelskii, the vice-speaker of the Moscow city council and member of the city’s committee on culture and public relations. The proposal seems to also have the support of representatives from the LDPR, KPRF and United Russia deputy Vladimir Kolesnikov.

Unclear why Dzerzhinsky’s statute was removed in the first place? I can think of several thousand reasons. Most of them from mass graves from the Red Terror. Are Russian officials really that historically tone-deaf?

Many often assert that Putin’s Russia has restored the Soviet Union. I usually take such pronouncements as silly hyperbole. But is there any better symbol of Soviet revanche that returning Felix Edmundovich to his former stead?