Putin tells ministers to pitch in for Stolypin statue
Russia's Vladimir Putin on Wednesday asked his ministers to donate a month's salary toward a monument of Pyotr Stolypin, an early 1900s statesman known for his intolerance of revolutionary attitudes.
"Members of the cabinet, and not only members of the cabinet, will have to direct at least a month's salary to the Stolypin monument," the prime minister told a meeting devoted to preparations for the 150th anniversary of Stolypin's birth next year.
Putin lavished praise on Stolypin, who served as prime minister for five years and survived several assassination attempts before being murdered in 1911, six years before the Bolshevik Revolution brought communists to power.
Heading the government in a "dramatic time" in Russian history, "the head of government had to exhibit an iron will, personal courage, and an ability to accept the burden of responsibility for the situation in the country," Putin said.
He "understood that various sorts of radicalism as well as standing in one place, rejecting change and needed reforms, equally threaten the country," Putin added.
Stolypin was known for his conservative views and a tough stance against revolutionaries that stirred the strikes and mutinies across Russia in 1905.
The statesman made numerous enemies and executed hundreds of people on terrorism charges, with the "Stolypin's necktie" at one stage becoming a common term used to describe the gallows.
But Stolypin is also known as the author of a daring agrarian reform that granted more rights to peasants.
Putin has previously expressed admiration for French president Charles de Gaulle and Russian tsar Peter the Great, whose portrait has graced his office since the 1990s.
© 2011 AFP