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A monument to the creator of Soviet secret police could be returning to downtown Moscow

Moscow’s city council has consented to a proposal by the group’s Communist members to hold a citywide referendum about returning a monument to Felix Dzerzhinsky—the founder of the Soviet secret police—to Lubyanka Square in Moscow, where Russia’s modern-day special police, the FSB, is still headquartered.

Communists also tried to add another two questions to the referendum (about local education and healthcare), but the city council refused, saying the issues aren’t relevant to specific legislation.

In order for the Dzerzhinsky-monument referendum to go ahead, Moscow’s Communists must register the initiative formally and collect at least 146,000 signatures in support of the idea. For several years, the city’s Communists have pushed for a popular vote on this issue.

Update: Moscow's election commission says it will not permit the city's Communists to register their referendum initiative, stating that the city council's refusal to endorse all three components of its original initiative makes it illegal to hold a referendum on just one issue from the initiative. 

Moscow's Dzerzhinsky monument when it was still in Lubyanka Square, before 1991.

In early June, Moscow’s election commission endorsed the idea of holding a referendum about restoring Lubyanka Square’s Dzerzhinsky monument, though a city council committee did not support the concept.

The original Dzerzhinsky monument stood in Lubyanka Square from 1958 until 1991. It still exists today in Moscow, relocated to Fallen Monument Park, just outside the Krymsky Val building.