Monument to Soviet secret police founder unveiled in Moscow

A monument to the founder of the Soviet secret police, Felix Dzerzhinsky, has been unveiled outside the headquarters of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service in Moscow, Russian state media reported on Monday.

The monument was unveiled by Foreign Intelligence Service director Sergey Naryshkin on the anniversary of Dzerzhinsky’s birth.

In his speech, Naryshkin said that Dzerzhinsky’s “ideals of decency and justice” had made him a "moral compass” for future generations working in national security.

The decision to erect a new monument to “Iron Felix” is significant mainly as the toppling of Dzherzhinsky’s statue in Moscow’s Lubyanka Square following the failure of the August coup in 1991 was a key turning point in the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Dzerzhinsky was appointed by Lenin to head the Cheka, the newly established domestic intelligence agency in 1917. One of the architects of the Red Terror under Stalin, Dzehrzhinsky’s ruthless approach to critics of the Bolshevik regime means he remains a highly divisive figure in Russia today.

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