Washington, July 17 (ANI): Residents of Bedford, Virginia, have lodged a strong protest against the installation of a memorial bust of Soviet dictator Josef Stalin next to statues of Western Allied leaders who were involved in World War II.
The small town located 200 miles south of Washington is faced with a firestorm of controversy.
According to Fox News, opponents of the bronze sculpture say it has no right to be placed in the National D-Day Memorial next to the busts of Presidents Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill because Stalin's murderous rule led to the deaths of at least 20 million people, surpassing even the number of murders under Hitler's bloody reign.
The Bedford board of supervisors voted unanimously late last month to ask the National D-Day Memorial Foundation to lose the bust.
A group called the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation has issued an electronic petition calling on the memorial overseers to remove the bust.
Several newspaper editorials have criticized the bust.
The Joint Baltic American National Committee, a lobbying group, said the bust not only elevates Stalin but "does a great disservice to the memories" of the soldiers who died at Normandy.
"It is embarrassing to have to explain to our friends and colleagues overseas why Stalin's bust has suddenly appeared in our backyard when we have been applauding the removal of Stalinist icons elsewhere," the committee said.
The Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation has collected more than 3,500 signatures on its petition.
"Statues of Stalin have been torn down all over Europe. Even in the Soviet Union," Lee Edwards, chairman of the group, said in a written statement.
He added: "The Stalin bust in Bedord, Va., should be removed immediately." (ANI)