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    Moscow prepares to unveil replacement for destroyed Georgia WWII monument

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    A World War II memorial to replace a monument blown up in the Georgian city of Kutaisi last year will be unveiled in Moscow on December 19, the head of a fund to restore World War II monuments said.

    A World War II memorial to replace a monument blown up in the Georgian city of Kutaisi last year will be unveiled in Moscow on December 19, the head of a fund to restore World War II monuments said.

    The day will mark a year since the 46-meter Soviet-era memorial in Kutaisi, Georgia's second-largest city, was demolished to make space for a new parliamentary building.

    Russia denounced the demolition as an "act of vandalism" and accused Georgian authorities of a "symbolic attack" on the memory of Georgians who died in the war.

    A government-run contest to choose the design for the Russian monument was held in July.

    The monument, to go up in Moscow's Poklonnaya Gora memorial park, will feature two Soviet soldiers, Georgian Meliton Kantaria and Russian Mikhail Yegorov, who hoisted a Soviet flag over the Reichstag during the Battle of Berlin in May 1945.

    The two bronze statues, with the flag in their arms, will stand in front of a smaller replica of the Kutaisi monument.

    "The height of the memorial... is about 14 meters. We are now trying to decide how to take it to Moscow," said Viktor Seliverstov, director general of the Historical Heritage foundation, which raised funds for the project.

    The monument is expected to be fully assembled by December 10.

    Russia initially wanted to build a replica of the monument, but Merab Berdzenishvili, who designed the original in 1981, said the blueprints and miniatures have been lost.

     

    MOSCOW, November 22 (RIA Novosti)

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