Russia unveiled a stunning new memorial dedicated to Soviet troops who fought in World War II in Moscow, just one year after a similar monument was destroyed in the Georgian town of Kutaisi, Russia Today is reporting.
Though initially planned an exact replica of the destroyed monument known as the "Memorial of Fame," Moscow's architectural commission is said to have altered the scale and scope of the new memorial, while paying significant homage to the original concept.
Among the many diplomats who were reported to have taken part in Tuesday's debut ceremony were Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin, Georgian opposition leaders Nino Burdzhanadze and Zurab Nogaideli as well as Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. Also expected were an ensemble of Russian and Georgian war veterans, scientists, cultural workers and artists.
Slamming the 2009 destruction of the Memorial of Fame (which reportedly resulted in two deaths) as a "shameful example of state vandalism," Putin then went on to dedicate Moscow's version as "a memorial to the immortal heroism of our people and also a symbol of our strong resolve to protect the truth about the heroes of the war. We stand together against nationalism, xenophobia, extremism -- however appealing they may be made to look."
Watch video of the new memorial's unveiling here: