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Statue of Soviet secret police founder re-erected in Moscow

by Elsa Court September 11, 2023 7:52 PM 1 min read
This audio is created with AI assistance

A statue of Felix Dzerzhinsky, the founder of the Soviet secret police, has been erected in Moscow at the headquarters of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported on Sept. 11.

The statue is a smaller copy of the Dzerzhinsky monument that stood in front of the KGB headquarters on Lubyanka Square in Moscow until 1991.

Following the August 1991 coup attempt in Moscow, protesters demanded the authorities remove the statue of him and spray-painted the word "executioner" on the monument. It was taken down and left in a museum park with other Soviet-era monuments.

As the new statue was unveiled, the head of the SVR, Sergey Naryshkin, said that Dzerzhinsky "dreamed of creating a future based on the principles of goodness and justice."

The statue's face is turned toward Poland and Baltic states "because the threat to Russia from the northwest remains," Naryshkin said.  

In 1917-1926, Dzerzhinsky was the head of the Soviet secret police known first as Cheka and then as GPU and OGPU. The organization was later renamed to NKVD and finally to KGB.

Dzerzhinsky is responsible for the imprisonment, torture, and murder of opponents of the Soviet regime as part of the Red Terror, a campaign of repression carried out by the Cheka to consolidate Bolshevik control.

Lasting from 1918 to 1922, the state-sanctioned violence led to the deaths of between 50,000 and 200,000 people, according to historians' estimates, with many more imprisoned or deported.

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