The Russian human rights group Memorial has called for a ban on publicly glorifying Soviet leader Josef Stalin, a news report said Tuesday, just days Russia before commemorates the 70th anniversary of the allied victory over Nazi Germany.
“Stalin's crimes are unparalleled in the country's history. Their scale was such that the appearance of his image in the public space in any positive context is unacceptable and should be banned by law," the group was cited as saying by news agency Interfax.
Memorial added that every year in the Russian regions attempts are made to establish monuments or hang posters of Stalin ahead of Victory Day. Portraits of the Soviet leader are also a common sight at Victory Day rallies on May 9 in Moscow.
While the human rights group acknowledged the role that Stalin played in Russia's 20th-century history, it added that this did not justify his public glorification.
"We are in no way talking about deleting Stalin from history … But the place of a dictator belongs in museum halls, books, and in historical monographs in the context of their actions — not in city squares,” the statement said.
Stalin, who ruled from 1929 his death in 1953, took the position of supreme commander of the Soviet army in 1941. The Nazi army was defeated four years later, but the Soviet Union lost millions of soldiers and civilians in the process.
Stalin also had millions of his own people murdered in political purges throughout his time in power. His regime additionally oversaw a famine in Ukraine that lead to the deaths of millions of people, according to historical accounts.