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American-Sponsored Tribute to Raisa Gorbachev Restored in Moscow

Aired September 18, 2000 - 2:55 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: Some migrating birds will head south in a couple of months. But a group of American ducks already has flown to Moscow. And the mallards are receiving a special reception after their travels.

Here's CNN's Steve Harrigan.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

STEVE HARRIGAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The bronze statues of ducks in Moscow's Novodevichy Park were a gift from former U.S. first lady Barbara Bush. There used to be nine of them.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: At first, one disappeared, then the big one, then the two little ones.

HARRIGAN: In the children's story "Make Way for Ducklings," the mallard family is searching for a safe home.

(on camera): The last duck in line, Quack, was stolen entirely. Then Lack, Mack and Mrs. Mallard were cut off at the knees.

(voice-over): That fact hurt their creator the most.

NANCY SCHON, MOSCOW: When I heard they were stolen and cut off at the legs in Moscow, I was devastated. It was such a violent act. I really couldn't believe that anybody would do anything quite so violent. It was -- well, they're kind of like my children.

HARRIGAN: So she's made new ones, thanks to a $50,000 grant from a Boston bank -- welcome news to duck-sized Muscovites, puzzling for some of their elders.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): They steal everything here. I don't understand what all the fuss is over some little ducks.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WATERS: Today, former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev welcomed the bronze birds to their new home as a tribute to his wife, Raisa. Raisa Gorbachev first admired the originals back in Boston in 1991, inspiring the then-American first lady Barbara Bush to give the gift. Mrs. Gorbachev died, as you may know, of leukemia one year ago Wednesday. She's buried in the park's cemetery.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com

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