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Lenin statue coming down in Yerevan

MOSCOW -- Armenian authorities have began dismantling Vladimir Lenin's statue in Yerevan and hope to complete the job before the Soviet state founder's April 22nd birthday.

Tass said that the city fathers voted Saturday to begin taking the Lenin monument down in what also represented a renewed attack on the Lenin monuments after a hiatus of more than six months.

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In an attempt to halt the destruction of Lenin monuments that began last year in the Western Ukraine, Gorbachev decreed the removal of Lenin statues was an outrage and ordered a stop.

Tass explained that the city councilmen in the Armenian capital of Yerevan were aiming to get the job done by April 22, when Lenin was born in 1870. He died in 1924.

Lenin founded both the Russian Communist Party and the Soviet state, seizing power in November 1917 after the initial February Russian Revolution failed to produce stable governments.

Two members of the Yerevan City Council voted against and four abstained.

The mayor, Ambartsum Galstyan, who abstained in the vote, said the 'war against monuments' was the sign of an inferiority complex.

The Armenian Communist Party issued a statement charging that pulling down monuments to Lenin only seeks 'to distract people from urgent tasks and to create the illusion of implementing a national-patriotic policy.'

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The Yerevan monument was the work of Sergei Merkurov, a prominent Soviet sculptor, and is considered to be one of the best sculptures of Lenin.

It was installed in 1940 to mark the 20th anniversary of Soviet Armenia, a status which Armenian nationalists now want annulled in favor of a sovereign state.

In February, paint was poured on the monument during a rally by supporters of Armenian independence.

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