World

Moscow authorities clear way for vote on restoring statue of Soviet secret police founder

  • FILE  - This  Friday, Aug. 23, 1991 file photo shows people as they step on the head of the statue of the founder of the KGB, Felix  Dzerzhinsky, which was toppled in Moscow. The Moscow city legislature on Wednesday, June 24, 2015, has agreed to allow Moscow residents to decide whether the statue of Felix Dzerzhinsky, the founder of what became the KGB, should be restored. The statue of the Bolshevik revolutionary known as Iron Felix stood outside KGB headquarters in Moscow until it was toppled by protesters in 1991 as the Soviet Union disintegrated. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, file )

    FILE - This Friday, Aug. 23, 1991 file photo shows people as they step on the head of the statue of the founder of the KGB, Felix Dzerzhinsky, which was toppled in Moscow. The Moscow city legislature on Wednesday, June 24, 2015, has agreed to allow Moscow residents to decide whether the statue of Felix Dzerzhinsky, the founder of what became the KGB, should be restored. The statue of the Bolshevik revolutionary known as Iron Felix stood outside KGB headquarters in Moscow until it was toppled by protesters in 1991 as the Soviet Union disintegrated. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, file )  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - A crowd in this Friday, Aug. 23, 1991 file photo is gathered while a statue of infamous police chief Felix Dzerzhinsky is toppled at the KGB headquarters in Moscow. The Moscow city legislature on Wednesday, June 24, 2015, has agreed to allow Moscow residents to decide whether the statue of Felix Dzerzhinsky, the founder of what became the KGB, should be restored. The statue of the Bolshevik revolutionary known as Iron Felix stood outside KGB headquarters in Moscow until it was toppled by protesters in 1991 as the Soviet Union disintegrated. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, file)

    FILE - A crowd in this Friday, Aug. 23, 1991 file photo is gathered while a statue of infamous police chief Felix Dzerzhinsky is toppled at the KGB headquarters in Moscow. The Moscow city legislature on Wednesday, June 24, 2015, has agreed to allow Moscow residents to decide whether the statue of Felix Dzerzhinsky, the founder of what became the KGB, should be restored. The statue of the Bolshevik revolutionary known as Iron Felix stood outside KGB headquarters in Moscow until it was toppled by protesters in 1991 as the Soviet Union disintegrated. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, file)  (The Associated Press)

Moscow election officials have cleared the way for a popular vote on whether to restore a statue of the Soviet secret police's founder to a square in central Moscow.

The statue of Felix Dzerzhinsky, the Bolshevik revolutionary nicknamed Iron Felix, stood outside KGB headquarters in Moscow until it was toppled by protesters in 1991 when the Soviet Union was heading to its demise. It has remained at a Moscow park since then.

The Moscow city legislature on Wednesday allowed the Communist Party to collect the nearly 150,000 signatures needed to hold a referendum in September on restoring the statue to its original venue.

The Moscow Election Commission, which initially vowed to block the vote, reversed course Thursday and registered a group that would collect signatures for holding the vote.