Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 30 August 2014

Outcry over Stalin posters

A plan to celebrate Russia's Second World War victory anniversary with posters of Josef Stalin has reopened fierce debate over its murky Soviet past.

Moscow hopes to put up the posters for the May 9 parade, the 65th anniversary of Germany's defeat, an honour denied since Stalin's crimes were publicly exposed over half-a-century ago.

There is rising concern that Stalin is being quietly rehabilitated as memories of his reign of terror fade. Last year, old Soviet national anthem lyrics praising him were restored to a rotunda in a Moscow subway station.

The war victory came at appalling cost to the Soviet Union — at least 27 million citizens are estimated to have died. Stalin's case is especially touchy: should Russians honour him for leading the country's glorious sacrifice, or denounce him for his decades of brutal rule included sending tens of millions into labour camps?

Boris Gryzlov, the head of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's United Russia faction in parliament said: “There's nothing to argue about. Stalin was guilty in the deaths of millions.”

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