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Siberian Communists Unveil New ‘Stalin Center’

The newly opened Stalin Center in the city of Barnaul. Communists of Russia Altai / VK

A so-called “cultural and historical” center dedicated to Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin has been unveiled in the Siberian city of Barnaul, a local group of communists announced over the weekend.

Members of the Communists of Russia party — not to be confused with the much larger Communist Party of the Russian Federation — opened the “Stalin Center” on the eve of the 145th anniversary of the dictator's birth on Dec. 18. 

A 200-kilogram bust of Stalin that had been dug up in a nearby forest several years ago was named the center’s main exhibit.

“This is a venue for the preservation of our history and memory,” said Sergei Matasov, founder of the Stalin Center and head of the Altai region’s chapter of the Communists of Russia.

The party accused “the enemies of Stalin,” as well as supporters of former President Boris Yeltsin and jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, of “slandering” the Stalin Center after its grand opening.

“But that's OK, we’ll deal with them as Stalin would have,” the Altai region’s Communists of Russia wrote on the Russian social media website VKontakte.

The Soviet dictator's image has gradually been restored in Russia in recent years despite the atrocities carried out under his rule.

In October, a bust of Stalin appeared at a memorial site in the Tver region dedicated to victims of Soviet political repression.

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