Georgia removes another Stalin statue: Reports

Joseph Stalin is a deeply controversial figure in the former Soviet Union.

Last Updated: Jun 28, 2010, 15:58 PM IST

Tbilisi: Georgia`s pro-Western authorities have removed the second statue of Joseph Stalin within a week as they try to distance the ex-Soviet nation from the Communist legacy, media reported on Monday.

The monument was removed from the central square of the western mining town of Tkibuli in the dead of night at the weekend as part of reconstruction works, Georgia`s Rustavi 2 television quoted an unnamed local official as saying.

On Friday, a Stalin statue was removed from the main square in his hometown of Gori to be replaced with a monument to "victims of the Soviet dictatorship and to those killed in the 2008 war" with Russia.

Born Joseph Dzhugashvili in Gori in 1878, Stalin ruled the Soviet Union with an iron fist from the late 1920s to his death in 1953.

Stalin is a deeply controversial figure in the former Soviet Union, accused of causing the deaths of millions of Soviet citizens in his brutal Gulag prison camps and through the forced collectivisation of agriculture.

Stalin`s supporters, however, praise his role in the Soviet Union`s victory over Nazi Germany in 1945.