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Moscow mayor orders speed up in restoration of Soviet icon

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Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov instructed on Tuesday that restoration work to a 1930s Soviet-era statue, The Worker and the Peasant Woman, be speeded up.
MOSCOW, August 26 (RIA Novosti) - Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov instructed on Tuesday that restoration work to a 1930s Soviet-era statue, The Worker and the Peasant Woman, be speeded up.

The giant statue by Vera Mukhina, one of the most prominent to shape Moscow's landscape, was dismantled for restoration in 2003. Moscow authorities originally pledged it would be back and fully restored in 2005.

"The [restoration] deadline must be moved nearer and the statue put in place," Luzhkov told a Moscow city government session. "It must be returned to its base in its original size as it appeared at the 1937 Paris exhibition."

The giant 24-meter (about 79 feet) high statue made of stainless steel sheets was cut into 40 sections in 2003, but work halted and the pieces long remained unassembled as authorities cited financial problems in the restoration process.

Two figures in the sculptural composition, with their step wide and energetic, seem to be moving fast. One hand of each figure shoots upward holding a hammer and sickle - the two primary symbols of the Soviet Union - the other hand of each is thrown backward.

Although the statue met the task of ideological glorification, it reflected the author's inclination to might and love for the grandiose. As the sculptor put it, it is "a breakthrough into the future, to the light and the sun, to the feeling of human strength."

The composition was first shown at the International Exhibition in Paris in 1937. It has since been replicated in thousands of posters, cards, stamps and became a logo for the then-Soviet and now Russian film studio Mosfilm in the 1970s.

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