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Activists reveal deal with authorities to install bust of Stalin in West Siberia

The place to install the bust will be chosen at a meeting of the Commission on Toponymy on April 27

YEKATERINBURG, April 18. /TASS/. The Russky Dukh (or Russian Spirit) public organization and the administration of the city of Surgut, Western Siberia, have struck an agreement on installing a bust of Joseph Stalin, the organization’s chairman Denis Khanzhin told TASS on Tuesday. According to him, the place to install the bust will be chosen at a meeting of the Commission on Toponymy on April 27.

The press service of the Surgut administration declined to comment on the issue.

"Supported by the local branch of the Russian Communist Party, we have been able to come to an agreement with the city administration on installing a bust of Stalin in Surgut," Khanzhin said. "We have proposed that the bust be installed at the Memorial of Glory near the Eternal Flame on May 9. However, the place may change after the meeting of the Commission on Toponymy. Stalin’s bust is currently kept at the city administration’s warehouse while we are collecting the necessary documents," he added.

The chairman of the Russky Dukh organization also said that activists had launched a fundraising campaign to make a pedestal for the bust and refurbish the area where it would be installed. "In order to have this work done, we need to raise 50,000 rubles (roughly $890), this amount includes transport charges, the making of the pedestal and the refurbishment of the area," Khanzhin elaborated.

According to earlier reports, on September 15, activists illegally put up a bust of Joseph Stalin in Surgut, near a site where a monument dedicated to Soviet-era political prisoners is expected to be built. Yekaterina Shvidkaya who heads the Surgut administration’s information policy department told TASS that "the bust has been deemed illegal as the Commission on Toponymy approved the place for installing a monument to the repressed."