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3 Cities, Separatists Want Luzhkov-Admired Statue

A boat sailing past the 100-meter-high Peter the Great statue this week. Igor Tabakov

Ripples from Yury Luzhkov's ouster reached Oryol, Petrozavodsk, Voronezh and Transdnestr on Wednesday when local representatives said they would gladly take the towering Peter the Great statue admired by the former mayor but scorned by the provisional Moscow city government.

Acting Mayor Vladimir Resin offered the controversial 100-meter-high statue, which stands in the Moscow River, to St. Petersburg on Monday. But the local legislature and Governor Valentina Matviyenko said Wednesday that they did not want it, Interfax reported.

The legislature of Karelia's capital, Petrozavodsk, said Wednesday that it would like the statue to commemorate Peter the Great's founding of the city in 1703.

Oryol Mayor Viktor Safyanov also said his city would accept the statue, but he offered no explanation for why.

Voronezh youth groups said the monument should be moved to their city because Peter the Great used its shipyards to build Russia's naval fleet.

The People's Will party in Moldova's breakaway province of Transdnestr said the statue could be placed near the bridge over Dnestr, a river near the sites of some of Peter the Great's battles.

Relocation of the statue would cost $6 million to $10 million — enough to build one or two kindergartens in Moscow, a construction industry source told Interfax.

But prominent art curator Marat Guelman said Monday that he would find private sponsors to finance the removal of the statue, RIA-Novosti reported.

Meanwhile, Zurab Tsereteli, the sculptor who made the Peter the Great statue, announced Wednesday that he would “definitely” make a statue of Luzhkov.

“There will be a Luzhkov monument in Moscow,” he said, Interfax reported. "If no one else wants to make one, I will."

Tsereteli's private collection in Moscow already contains two statues of Luzhkov.

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