Soviet leader praised in France

A statue to Soviet Communist icon Vladimir Lenin has appeared in the south of France as part of a series of monuments to people who changed the course of history in the 20th Century.

Along with the three-meter-tall statue of Lenin, monuments to such historic figures as Charles de Gaulle, Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt are also set to appear in the city of Montpellier.

Sculptor of the monument to the Soviet Communist leader François Cacheux was quoted as saying that “Lenin changed the face of the world in the 20th Century. The 1917 Revolution gave the world decolonization, and if the Revolution didn't take place in Russia, countries like Africa, India and China wouldn't have received independence.”

According to Itar-Tass news agency, monuments to “the greatest people of the 20th Century” have been erected on the initiative of the city’s mayor, member of the French Socialist Party Georges Frêche.

Each statue weighs up to one ton, and costs over $250,000.

The authorities are planning to build ten such monuments, including statues to spiritual Indian leader Mohandas Gandhi; Israel's first woman Prime Minister Golda Meir; China's Communist Party Leader Mao Zedong; leader of the Egyptian Revolution Gamal Nasser; as well as Nobel Peace Prize winner Nelson Mandela.