[Ed. – Keep in mind the brutal thugs American students are encouraged to admire. It’s just another version of the same problem.]
Law student Mikhail Kosyrev used to have a negative view of Stalin but his attitude has drastically changed in recent years, he said, insisting the wartime tyrant meant well.
“Over the past five years I’ve often watched documentary films about Stalin, about that time on television and learnt more about him,” the 29-year-old told AFP.
“And now I don’t have any negative feelings towards him. He had good intentions.”
Since President Vladimir Putin took power in 2000, there has been a growing chorus of Russians who take a positive view of the Soviet tyrant’s role in history.
Those attitudes have changed so dramatically on the back of a recent burst of patriotic fervour whipped up by state-controlled media that some analysts speak of a creeping rehabilitation of Stalin.
The palpable change in how Russians perceive the moustachioed despot has particularly come into stark focus in the run-up to Russia’s celebrations of Soviet victory over Nazi Germany in WWII.
Banners featuring Stalin whose name is inseparably tied to the history of the 1941-1945 conflict known in Russia as the Great Patriotic War were spotted in Moscow and Magadan, a former transit point in a vast network of Stalinist labour camps.