The Communist Party of Russia is prepared to pay for the restoration of the famous statue of Bolshevik revolutionary "Iron" Felix Dzerzhinsky to its former site in central Moscow, a party member told TASS on Monday.
In late June the party started collecting signatures seeking to hold a referendum on the restoration of the sculpture, which was unveiled in 1958 in front of the KGB headquarters on what was then called Dzerzhinsky (now Lubyanka) Square.
Valery Rashkin who heads the party’s Moscow department said Communists were accused of promoting the referendum that would cost Moscow 450 million rubles ($7.8 million).
"Let the issue be considered by the [Moscow] commission on monumental art. And no referendum will be needed," he said.
Rashkin said the party would pay for the monument’s replacement from its current location, Muzeon Sculpture Park, to Lubyanka Square.
According to public opinion polls, 61% of Muscovites are in favor of the statue’s restoration, he added.
The monument to Dzerzhinsky — founder of the state security service Cheka, predecessor of the KGB — was toppled during Moscow events as the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991 and taken to Muzeon Sculpture Park.
Backed by Moscow lawmakers and the election commission, the Communist Party has been given 30 days to collect 146,315 signatures — 2% of the Moscow electorate — in favor of the referendum idea.