Russians divided over how they see Stalin

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Moscow, Sep. 15 (ANI): Even as The Kremlin continues to glorify soviet dictator Joseph Stalin by glossing his image in schoolbooks, opinion across Russia is divided over how to view him.

While government-approved history textbooks describe Stalin's reign of terror as entirely rational and necessary to make Russia great, those who suffered from his excesses remember him with bitterness.

"I think we can forgive Stalin for his mistakes - I am proud of what he did for Russia...He might not be a hero but he was a very good person," two teenaged schoolchildren said.

Ninety six-year-old Anna Yakovleva, who lives in her makeshift accommodation, recalls her bitter tale after kissing a photo of her husband who was executed at the age of 28.

"Sometimes, I look at his photo and say, 'Husband - where have you gone?! Why did you leave me?!'" she said.

She says that after his death, she was sent to a prison camp before being exiled with her two children into a life of starvation and poverty.

Her grandaughter, Tatiana, says Stalin's legacy can never be revered.

"Stalin's time should not be idealised, it was the time of repressions and fear and there is a danger that we could return to those times and see history repeat itself. This should not be allowed to happen," she says.

Masha Lipman of the Carnegie Moscow Centre said: "It is deeply worrying that the government itself interferes with the way history is taught. The government would like for there to be one truth, for children to learn the kind of history that helps support and helps boost today's regime."

A new law in Russia means that anyone who falsifies the Kremlin's version of history, for example comparing Stalin with Hitler, may be prosecuted. (ANI)

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