A new monument to Soviet leader Josef Stalin was unveiled in the southern Russian city of Volgograd on Wednesday to mark the 80th anniversary of the Soviet victory in the battle of Stalingrad — as Volgograd was known until 1961 — a key turning point in World War II.
The bust of Stalin was installed near the Battle of Stalingrad Museum alongside those of Soviet World War II marshals Georgy Zhukov and Alexander Vasilevsky. All three monuments were designed by sculptor Sergey Shcherbakov, a Volgograd native.
This is the second monument to Stalin to have been unveiled in Volgograd in recent years. The first modern memorial, a two-meter concrete bust, was opened near the local Communist Party headquarters in December 2019 to mark the 140th anniversary of Stalin’s birth.
Russian President Vladimir Putin is expected to visit the city on Thursday, where he will likely attend an array of commemorative events to mark the 80th anniversary of the battle that dealt Adolf Hitler his first surrender in 1943.
According to a law adopted by the Volgograd Duma in 2016, the city reverts to its Soviet-era name Stalingrad on certain public holidays, including Victory Day and the annual anniversary of the Battle of Stalingrad.
The city’s name was changed pre-emptively on Monday in preparation for Putin’s visit, which, according to local news outlets, will also involve widespread security checks and traffic restrictions.