Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) and Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu watch honour guards marching in the rain during a wreath-laying ceremony marking the anniversary of the Nazi German invasion in 1941, by the Kremlin wall in Moscow, Russia June 22, 2017. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin - RTS1860X

Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin has been voted the most “outstanding” figure in Russia’s history, beating the country’s most beloved poet, Alexander Pushkin, and current Russian leader Vladimir Putin.
The poll, by Russia’s independent Levada Center, is the latest to showcase the changing view amongst Russians of Stalin, who presided over mass deportations, a network of concentration camps—or gulags—and is believed to be responsible for the deaths of around 20 million Soviet citizens.
But for many Russians it is Stalin’s role in winning World War II that is remembered and encouraged in government propaganda. Recent approval ratings of Stalin and the man he succeeded—Vladimir Lenin—show that both enjoy majority approval in Russia.
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