News & Opinion | May 28, 2019 12:26 pm

How do Russians Feel About Joseph Stalin in 2019?

The country's third largest city unveiled a bust of the dictator

Joseph Stalin
Dictator of Soviet Russia, Joseph Stalin. (Getty)
Bettmann Archive

A bust of Joseph Stalin was erected in Russia’s third largest city at the beginning of May in a courtyard across from a giant head of Vladimir Lenin, resurfacing many mixed feelings across the nation for its former dictator.

Stalin’s a complicated figure in Russia, The Atlantic reported, thanks to both his lasting legacy as the main who “broke the back” of the Nazis in World War II, but also as the guy who presided over “an era of brutality marked by purges, persecution, and famines that affected millions of people.”

The statue unveiling in Novosibirsk has wider ramifications as alleged grassroots movements to glorify Stalin across the country are cropping up as part of an effort among Russian President Vladimir Putin’s supporters to justify his “own authoritarian ruling style,” Alexander Rudnitsky, the head of the local branch of Memorial, a human-rights organization, told The Atlantic.

And the tactic seems to be working as the Levada Center, a “reputable polling organization,” according to TA, reported that some 70 percent of Russian citizens look back on Stalin’s place in their country’s history positively.

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