Soviet monument to make way for Reagan: report
Feb 09 1:10 PM US/Eastern
Opponents of Poland's former communist regime reportedly want to pay a posthumous homage to US President Ronald Reagan by erecting his statue in the place of a Soviet-era monument.
In an open letter to the mayor of the southwestern city of Katowice, the former anti-regime activists said that the staunchly anti-communist Reagan had been a "symbol of liberty," the Polish news agency PAP reported.
As a result, they said, he deserved to become the centrepiece of the city's Freedom Square, replacing a monument to the Soviet troops who drove out the occupying Nazis in 1945.
They also said that they wanted the site to be rebaptised "Ronald Reagan Freedom Square."
City hall spokesman Waldemar Bojarun said that Katowice's councillors would consider the issue.
Bojarun said that he had "enormous respect" for Reagan.
However, he said, the proposal could cost an estimated 500,000 zlotys (128,000 euros, 168,000 dollars) and the city had "other pressing needs."
There are already separate plans to erect a statue in memory of Reagan in the centre of the Polish capital, Warsaw, which would be paid-for from private funds.
Reagan, who dubbed the Soviet Union an "evil .," is widely credited by Poles with having driven communism to the wall.
The conservative Republican made fighting communism the cornerstone of his 1980-1988 presidency, and backed Poland's Solidarity trade union after it went underground when the regime declared martial law in 1981.
Reagan died in June 2004 at the age of 93.
History is kind to the courageous who may have been belittled in their lifetime.