Moscow to allow vote on restoring statue of Soviet secret police founder Felix Dzerzhinsky

The Moscow city legislature has agreed to allow residents to decide whether the statue of Felix Dzerzhinsky, the founder of the Soviet secret police, should be restored to a square in central Moscow.

The statue of the Bolshevik revolutionary known as Iron Felix stood outside KGB headquarters in Moscow until it was toppled by protesters in 1991 in the final months of the Soviet Union. The main KGB successor, the FSB, still has its headquarters in the imposing building on Moscow's Lubyanka Square.

Wednesday's decision allows the Communist Party to go ahead and collect the nearly 150,000 signatures needed to hold a referendum in September.

The approval of the Communists' request is seen as part of a Russian government effort to appeal to leftists at a time of economic recession.