Joseph Stalin and other Soviet leaders of that time deserve the harshest appraisal for “waging war against their own nation,” Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said on Tuesday.
Speaking on the Day Commemorating the Victims of Political Repression, which Russia marks on October 30, Medvedev said: “This [Stalin-era repression] must stay in the annals of our history and never happen again. The war against one’s own nation is the gravest crime.”
However, the premier said Russians should not also forget about “the glorious pages of the Soviet-era history of our Fatherland,” first of all, World War II.
“This was the victory of the whole nation, including its leaders, no matter how we treat them now,” he said.
Millions perished in the labor camps of the Gulag or in political purges during the Soviet era. Former dictator Joseph Stalin, who was voted the third greatest Russian in a poll by a TV channel in 2008, was responsible for over half of the deaths.
Despite this, he continues to be popular with many Russians for leading the Soviet Union to victory over Nazi Germany in World War II.