The statue of Feliks Dzerzhinsky, the man behind the Soviet Union's Red Terror and the founder of what would later become the notorious KGB, has been returned to a place of honor in Vladimir Putin's Moscow, in front of the Interior Ministry:
This is the man who in 1917 founded the Cheka, the Extraordinary Commission, which terrorized the nation with the arrests and brutal executions that became known as the Red Terror. This invention was the precursor of the secret police and spy network, the K.G.B., that stood as a symbol of barbarism in the 20th century.
Sadly, restoring the Dzerzhinsky statue was not all that shocking. It is one more step backward, like the state's increasing control over the media, like the removal of the president's political enemies by mock trial. Civic organizations are under fire, and President Vladimir Putin is paying unnecessary court to Uzbekistan's despotic and bloody government. Mr. Putin, who has just shuffled his cabinet again, is also said to be narrowing his choice for his successor in the next putative election - setting off a wave of speculation hard to distinguish from the old Kremlinology of who stood where on Lenin's Tomb at the big parades. If Mr. Putin does step down as promised, running against his chosen one could be a very dangerous venture.
Stalin's statue was similarly "rehabilitated" ten months ago.