A giant Soviet-era statue was put back on its pedestal early on Saturday in northeast Moscow after a five-year restoration.
The Worker and the Collective Farm Woman by Vera Mukhina, one of the most prominent statues to shape Moscow's landscape, was dismantled for restoration in 2003 and was initially expected to be returned in 2005. Authorities cited lack of financing for repeated delays.
"It's good that our great monuments return. This is evidence that our culture is powerful," one of the scarce watchers who gathered near all-Russia exhibition center VVTs to see the historic event at 07:00 a.m. Moscow time [04:00 GMT] told RIA Novosti.
The official unveiling ceremony is scheduled for December 4.
First Deputy Moscow Mayor Vladimir Resin said earlier the statue would last several centuries after restoration.
Work is planned for 2010 to equip an exhibition hall for 5,000 visitors in the statue's platform.
The 24.5-meter high steel statue was first showcased at an exhibition in Paris in 1937. It features two figures which seem to be moving briskly, holding aloft a hammer and sickle, the symbols of the Soviet Union. Although the statue was created to glorify communism, the enduring strength and grandeur of the image is cherished by many Muscovites.
MOSCOW, November 28 (RIA Novosti)