Is Vladimir Putin’s dictator chic to blame for Josef Stalin’s makeover? The Soviet tyrant who presided over the suffering of millions and helped launch World War II has been rebranded as a “competent manager” and, if Moscow’s deserted Gulag Museum is any indication, Russians appear to be lapping it up. —PS
Inside Russia, the story is more complicated. [Stalin] was, according to a school textbook adopted last year and endorsed by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, a “competent manager” who committed atrocities at home out of necessity.
Earlier this year, Stalin nearly won a nationwide call-in poll asking people to vote for the person who best represents Russia.
Stalin’s grandson, Yevgeny Dzhugashvili, is fighting the claim that Stalin was directly involved in the Gulag deaths. He has launched a libel suit against Novaya Gazeta, Russia’s leading opposition newspaper, seeking more than $300,000 in damages for saying that Stalin had personally signed execution orders, according to declassified documents.