The affair of the Gori statue [of Josef Stalin], and the confusion over the "renovation" of the museum [attempting to take note of the millions of his victims], together illustrate the bizarrely schizophrenic attitude that modern Georgia has toward its most famous son. This was thoroughly analyzed by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in a report published in March this year, entitled "The Stalin Puzzle: Deciphering Post-Soviet Public Opinion." Covering several former Soviet nations, the survey concluded, "Some of the results are shocking. Perhaps the most worrying figures come from Stalin's homeland, Georgia. An extraordinary 45 percent of Georgians have positive attitudes toward the dictator, and 68 percent call him a 'wise leader.'"
That much can be confirmed on the streets of Gori. "He was a very famous person," one elderly lady wandering through the museum grounds told DW. "I don't like the politics now in Georgia." "Stalin was a second god for people, for me," a taxi driver added. "Because, for example, people who were very poor and couldn't get education were able to in socialist times." Asked about the purges and the many people Stalin killed, the taxi driver added merely, "It was necessary."He may have been an SOB, but he was their SOB.