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Monument to Sakharov unveiled in St. Petersburg

ST. PETERSBURG. May 5 (Interfax-Northwest) - The unveiling ceremony of a monument to Nobel Peace Prize winner Dr. Andrei Sakharov, the first of its kind in Russia, took place in St. Petersburg on Monday.

The unveiling of a bronze monument on the square bearing Sakharov's name took place as part of festivities on the 300th anniversary of St. Petersburg, an Interfax correspondent reports.

"Quite a lot of monuments are installed in our city these days, and their existence is not always justified and is sometimes disputable. However, a monument to Andrei Sakharov is needed not only for St. Petersburg, but also for all Russia as a symbol of the triumph of human values," prominent Russian author Daniil Granin said at the ceremony.

"Only two people - he and Dmitri Likhachyov, have remained a moral example for all of us who are living," Granin said.

Popular Russian actor Oleg Basilashvili said one of Sakharov's most important merits was that he revived the feeling of civic dignity and conscience in the people.

The 3.2-meter high bronze monument by St. Petersburg sculptor Lev Lazarev depicts Dr. Sakharov with his hands clasped behind his back, his figure a little stooped, but his head high.

Meanwhile, Dr. Sakharov's widow Yelena Bonner said on Echo Moskvy that he still objects to installing a monument to her deceased husband, as she did several years ago when the installation of a monument to Sakharov in Moscow was debated.

"What's the difference - in Moscow or St. Petersburg? I have already said that it is out of place to erect a monument to Sakharov in today's Russia. And besides, there is such a thing as copyright, and no one has asked my opinion," she said. At the same time, Bonner said she would not file any protests.

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