Communists in Russia’s Nizhny Novgorod region are to construct a museum dedicated to the former leader of the USSR, Joseph Stalin. The building is being funded by Aleksey Zorov, a businessman who idolizes the deceased dictator.
According to the official website of the Russian Communist Party, the local Nizhny Novgorod regional branch will lay the building’s first stone next month, and create what will be the largest museum in Russia dedicated to the Georgian-born Bolshevik. Last year, Zorov made international headlines when he erected the region’s only statue to the ‘Man of Steel’ in the city of Bor, a four-hour train ride east of Moscow, on his own private land, where the museum will be located.
On the same day, the Communists will bury a time capsule due to be opened on May 9, 2045 – the 100th anniversary of the Soviet Union’s victory over the Nazis in World War II.
Unlike his predecessor Vladimir Lenin, who has a statue in almost every major Russian city, the country has very few Stalin monuments. After his death, successor Nikita Khrushchev denounced the former dictator’s record of repressions, and introduced a policy of “de-Stalinization,” removing memorials to him around the country.
The legacy of the Georgian despot splits opinion inside modern Russia. For some, he is a hero for his leadership through World War II, but for another segment of society, he was a tyrant who led a repressive and murderous regime. For others – he is a mixture of the two.
“Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin is the man through whom the country was able to defeat the brown plague – fascism,” said Vladislav Yegorov, the head of the local Communist Party committee. “Stalin is a symbol of victory, the commonwealth of fraternal nations, the power and greatness of the Power that ensured peace in the world and kept it from World War III.”
According to Yegorov, the Nizhny Novgorod Stalin Center should become the first step towards opening similar museums in all regions of Russia. In recent years, statues of the former dictator have popped up throughout the country, mainly organized by members of Russia’s Communist Party. In 2015, the city of Penza opened its own ‘Stalin Center’ on the birthday of the ‘Generalissimo.’ Meanwhile, in the southern resort city of Sochi, his former summer house is a popular tourist attraction.
Russia is full of Lenin busts, but you very rarely see one of Stalin. Here in Penza, there’s a golden bust of the ‘Generalissimo,’ outside the local Communist Party headquarters – or the ‘Stalin Centre.’ Today, exactly 67 years after he died, the bust has fresh red flowers. pic.twitter.com/lQmBYZJmFq
— Jonny Tickle (@jonnytickle) March 5, 2020
“We believe that socialism, a planned economy – a Soviet economy – is in demand now, in the 21st century,” local Penza Communist politician Georgy Kamnev said.
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