Moscow plans to erect a new statue of Soviet dictator Josef Stalin . . . .
Since President Vladimir Putin was elected in 2000, a number of Soviet symbols -- including the national anthem and an army flag -- have been restored to use, reflecting widespread nostalgia for Russia's communist years.
But rehabilitation of Stalin, who was denounced after his death in 1953 by the Soviet leadership for encouraging a cult of personality and killing millions of real and imagined opponents, has previously been out of bounds. Statues of Stalin were removed from Moscow's public spaces in the 1960s.
"A monument will be erected to those who took part in (leading the war against Adolf Hitler), including Stalin," Oleg Tolkachev, Moscow's senator in the upper house of parliament, told Ekho Moskvy radio.
Interfax news agency reported earlier that a Stalin monument would also be built in the Belgorod region near the Ukrainian border to mark the Soviet victory against Nazi Germany 60 years ago . . . .
In another sign of Stalin's growing appeal, state television channels have shown a number of prime-time television shows in recent months depicting him in a positive light.
I agree, of course, that Stalin's name shouldn't be erased from histories of World War II (the way that Stalin had erased his enemies from history books). He is to be credited for standing firm against the Nazis, and of course faulted for -- among his many other crimes -- butchering many top military officers in the years before World War II, which surely left Russia more vulnerable to attack. He also let himself be duped by Hitler's assurances of nonintervention.
But it sounds to me like there's more celebration of Stalin here than simple observation that he was the czar when World War II was fought. And that's a bad sign, both for Russia and for the rest of the world.