Georgia won't close Soviet Occupation Museum in Tbilisi

The Georgian Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection does not intend to revise the status or name of the Soviet Occupation Museum functioning in Tbilisi, a ministry statement says.

With the change of government in Georgia activist groups have stepped up efforts in the past few weeks demanding that the museum be closed or renamed. They have opponents in the person of college students who believe the museum should continue functioning in its original form.

 The museum was opened on Georgian Independence Day on May 26, 2006, and features about 3,000 exhibits, mainly photos and copies of documents.

"Considering public interest we declare that the agenda of the Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection of Georgia does not include the issue of changing the status or name of the Soviet Occupation Museum," the ministry report says.

At the opening Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili said that during the past two centuries Russia "committed more than one atrocity against Georgia and nobody should forget that."

Meanwhile, independent Georgian experts say that the museum in Tbilisi has never been very popular. Saakashvili and officials take only foreign guests to it.

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