Communists want Soviet dictator immortalised forever in stone.
'Currently, the memory of Stalin in Achinsk is not immortalised,' said Vladimir Sedov, a deputy for the local Communist party. Picture of Stalin during his first 1903 exile in Irkutsk region courtesy sibnarod.com
Most statues for Josef Stalin have been torn down but now Russian Communists want to erect a new monument where he was exiled before the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution. The aim is to build the controversial memorial in Achinsk, Krasnoyarsk region, by next year to mark the 70th anniversary of the Soviet Union's victory over Nazi Germany in World War II on May 9.
Stalin is reputed to have begun his trademark pipe-smoking habit in Achinsk during his two-month exile in the city before returning to Petrodgrad - now St Petersburg - in March 1917 to join the unrest following the February revolution and the overthrow Tsar Nicholas II.
Seven years later Stalin replaced Vladimir Lenin as leader of the Soviet Union, and is widely portrayed as one of the most notorious dictators in history. Millions were sent into Siberian exile, to Gulag labour camps, condemning them to death or long years separated from loves ones.
'Currently, the memory of Stalin in Achinsk is not immortalised,' said Vladimir Sedov, a deputy for the local Communist party. There is an exhibition at a local museum dedicated to him, but there is no monument. This is bad because students do not know who led the country during the war and who Stalin was. This is wrong'.
Construction will go ahead if locals support the plans. A former museum dedicated to Stalin in Achinsk was closed in the 1950s when the new Soviet leadership denounced his 'cult of personality'.
Stalin retains respect among some Russians for his leadership of the country during the Second World War. Some Russian authorities dispute Western claims that he was responsible for the deaths of tens of millions of people in the Soviet Union.
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