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Radio Prague - World's biggest Stalin monument would have turned 50 on May Day

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World's biggest Stalin monument would have
turned 50 on May Day


03-05-2005 15:39 | Dita Asiedu

14-08-2015 14:16 |
Jan Velinger

It's a beautiful sunny day here in Prague and I'm standing on Prague's
Letna Hill
overlooking the Vltava River and the Old Town. Tourists come
here today, not
only for the breathtaking view but to see the large
ticking metronome, which
was erected here in 1991. But for the local
residents this spot holds a darker
memory - little do the tourists around
me know that exactly fifty years ago, at
this very site, some six hundred
men and women were working around the clock
to create the world's biggest
monument ever to honour the Soviet Communist
party chief Josef Stalin.


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The 50-metre high massive statue of the finest marble was
proudly unveiled
by Czechoslovakia's Communist regime on
May 1, 1955. For seven years the
residents of Prague had the
Soviet leader follow their every move from the
hill above. The
17,000 tonne statue - Stalin's jacket button alone,
with a hammer and sickle, of course, was half a metre wide
featured the Soviet leader in front of a line of workers jokingly called
the "Fronta na maso" or "meat queue" by
residents, as this was a time when they were a daily
part of life in the

There are some dark legends associated with the statue. Its
Otakar Svec committed suicide a day before the
unveiling. The man who
posed for him as Stalin - an
electrician from the Barrandov film studios,
failed to shake off
his nickname "Stalin", took to drink, and
died three years
later. And, the vast statue's glory days were
Stalin's reign was denounced by the new Soviet leader, Nikita

Khrushchev, and the statue was destroyed just seven years
later, on
Moscow's orders in 1962.

Too heavy to be displaced, it was blown to pieces with 800 kg of
explosives and 1,650
detonators. Some witnesses claim the party chief was
decapitated immediately after the first
explosion, his head rolling into
the river waters below.

Before the remnants of the monument were stored, they were loaded on a
truck and
paraded in front of cheering crowds that gathered to celebrate
the event in the streets of
Prague's Old Town. Was it just a coincidence
or a bad omen that less than a year later, the
driver of the truck died in
an accident?

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