Soviet icon gets new home

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The Independent Online

The monument, beloved of Joseph Stalin, was hailed as one of the most outstanding examples of Socialist Realism, and made its debut in Paris in 1937. Designed by Vera Mukhina, it depicts an idealised Soviet factory worker holding a raised hammer, and a farm girl clutching a sickle. Both figures, hewn from shiny steel, are seen striding into a brave Socialist future.

The monument used to loom over Moscow in the grounds of the USSR's Exhibition for Economic Achievements. But in 2003 it was dismantled and cut into 17 pieces for restoration. Since then it has languished in workshops. Timetables for repair have slipped, and money earmarked for restoration has been spent without obvious effect.

The Moscow government intended to put the restored statue on the roof of a shopping centre, underlining the transition to capitalism, but a cultural complex has been deemed more appropriate.