A museum showcasing Soviet leader Josef Stalin's political and military bravado, while disregarding the mass political repression he orchestrated, will open in the Tver region in May, the Meduza news site reported Tuesday.
The authorities of Khoroshevo, a village located some 230 kilometers northwest of Moscow, approved the Russian Military-Historical Society's request to open the facility, according to Meduza.
The Russian Military-Historical Society, established on the order of President Vladimir Putin in December 2012, is headed by Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky. Some of the mandates the society lists on its official website include the creation of new military-themed museums and the “education of Russian citizens … in the spirit of love, devotion and selfless service to the motherland, respect for the defenders of the fatherland, [and] the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation.”
The museum will be housed in a cottage on the former Kondratyeva collective farm, where Stalin briefly resided in August 1943, Meduza reported, citing the regional administration of human rights organization Memorial. The museum's opening is set to coincide with Russia's 70th-anniversary celebration of the Soviet Union's victory in World War II this May.
The head of the Russian Communist Party’s branch in the Tver region, Artyom Goncharov, told Ekho Moskvy radio station Tuesday that a hotel would be opened near the site to accommodate tourists and that the new museum would be integrated in a tourist route in the area.
The future museum's administration said that Stalin would be portrayed as a “military leader, a government figure, and the leader of country, a politician and organizer,” Meduza reported. The facility will showcase a series of exhibitions highlighting Stalin's role in the Soviet Union's defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II and the development of his country's industrial sector. Organizers made no mention of exhibitions that would present Stalin as being responsible for mass political repression, according to Meduza.
A survey published in January by the Levada Center, an independent pollster based in Moscow, found that 52 percent of Russians view Stalin in a positive light. The poll, which carries a margin of error no more than 3.4 percent, was conducted in November using a representative sample of 1,600 adults across 46 regions.
Perm-36, a prison museum dedicated to victims of Soviet-era political repression, announced earlier this month that it was beginning a “self-liquidation” process after months of mounting pressure from regional officials. Museum director Viktor Shmyrov later told BBC Russian Service that the facility had been taken over by regional authorities and would become a museum about the Soviet penal system generally, abandoning its exhibitions on political prisoners and Stalin-era repression.