Former Soviet nation of Georgia unveils statue of Reagan

TBILISI, Georgia — Georgia’s pro-Western president has unveiled a monument to Ronald Reagan in the capital of the ex-Soviet state praising the 40th U.S. president for “destroying the Soviet Empire.”

Mikhail Saakashvili, whose government has for years had tense relations with Russia, also lambasted Moscow’s attempts to “restore” the Soviet Union by creating an economic bloc with other ex-Soviet nations.

He said Wednesday that the bronze statue that depicts Reagan sitting on a bench “deserves a place in the heart of Tbilisi, the heart of Georgia.”

Several statues of Reagan have gone up this year, the centennial of Reagan’s birth, including several in former communist bloc countries.

In 2008, Georgia lost a war with Russia over two separatist provinces sinking Russia’s ties with the U.S. to Cold War lows.

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