London, July 17 : Soviet tyrant Josef Stalin and World War II leader is battling the country's last monarch Tsar Nicholas II for the title of greatest Russia.
Both are in the race for first place in The Name of Russia, a domestic version of the BBC series Great Britons.
Stalin had been well ahead in the online vote until the show's producer appealed to members of a popular Russian social networking site to back Nicholas II.
Stalin has received almost 263,000 votes so far, against more than 267,000 for Nicholas II.
Lenin, the Tsar's nemesis, was third with nearly 187,000 votes. The top dozen included Peter the Great, Pushkin, Catherine the Great, Yuri Gagarin, Boris Yeltsin and Ivan the Terrible.
Alexander Lyubimov, who produces the historical contest for state-run Rossiya TV, said that he had urged a "flash-mob" from Odnoklassniki.ru, a Russian equivalent of Facebook, to support the Tsar against Stalin.
Almost 2.4 million votes have been cast for the list of 50 prominent figures from Russian history.
The most popular 12 will be reviewed on TV from September before the public votes for the winner in December.