5 Mar 2022 05:39

Polish ambassador advises Georgia to close Stalin Museum in Gori as symbolic gesture

TBILISI. March 5 (Interfax) - If the Georgian authorities cannot join anti-Russian sanctions, they could shut down the Stalin Museum in Gori as a symbolic gesture, Polish Ambassador to Georgia Mariusz Maszkiewicz said.

"I want to address my Georgian friends, I have one suggestion. I understand that you are in a very difficult situation, you are a small country, you have a big neighbor and a difficult economic situation, you cannot speak against Russia or support the sanctions imposed on them, but please make one symbolic gesture, close the Stalin Museum in Gori," Maszkiewicz said in Tbilisi on Friday.

The state-run Stalin Museum is located in Josef Stalin's native town of Gori (Shida Kartli Region). The museum complex opened in 1957 but a memorial museum in the house where Stalin was born had opened during his lifetime in 1937. The museum complex comprises the memorial small house, Stalin's train carriage and a two-story exhibition building. The museum complex occupies a total area of 3,529.7 square meters. Museum collections currently include up to 40,000 items, documents, paintings and supporting materials.

In 2019, Georgia granted Stalin's personal train car the status of movable monument of cultural heritage.

Stalin began using the train car in 1941, including for trips to the Tehran Conference and the Yalta Conference. The Soviet Union's North Caucasus Railroad gave it to the museum in 1985.

The house-museum received 42,400 visitors in March-November 2021, the museum's administration told reporters in late 2021. Of them, more than 36,000 were foreigners, it said.

According to the administration, the museum saw a record number of visits in 2019, when it received 175,962 guests.

The smallest number of visits (10,916) was recorded in 2020 amid the coronavirus pandemic, it said.

The Stalin Museum is still the leader by the number of visits in Georgia, the administration said.


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