A billboard displaying a portrait of Soviet dictator Josef Stalin has appeared on the streets of Novosibirsk in central Russia, the Meduza website reported Wednesday.
The local Communist Party paid for the billboard as part of the upcoming Victory Day celebrations.
Local Communist Party vice secretary, Renat Suleimanov told the Govorit Moskva radio station that the group was to erect a total of 25 billboards celebrating Stalin. “He is the personification of the government at the time. He made a great contribution in the struggle for victory,” Suleimanov said.
“The idea came about naturally. Stalin was the supreme commander who led this nation in the Great Patriotic War. This can never be taken away from him. It is a fact of history and can never be forgotten. We salute him and other brave veterans,” he said.
Stalin's regime is thought to have killed some six million people in the Soviet Union, although estimates vary widely. He still retains some support in Russia, with one controversial poll in 2006 claiming that 35 percent of Russians would vote for Stalin if he were still alive.