Russian President Dimitry Medvedev today slammed the erstwhile Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin for his totalitarian regime, saying his crimes against his own nation and people cannot be forgiven.
"Stalin committed mass crimes against the people. And despite the fact that he worked hard, despite the fact that under his leadership the country succeeded, what was done to its people cannot be forgiven," Medvedev said in an interview published to Izvestia newspaper published two days before Russia marks the 65th anniversary of victory in World War II.
Ever since the de-Stalinisation campaign launched by his successor Nikita Khrushchev in 1956, the muted debates are on about the role of Stalin in the Soviet history, which became more vociferous ahead of the 65th anniversary of victory in Europe to be celebrated on May 9.
Kremlin had to intervene to shoot down powerful Moscow mayor Yuri Luzhkov's plans to put up Stalin's posters on theV-day. "There are absolutely obvious things - the Great Patriotic War was won by our people, neither Stalin nor even the generals did anything as important as they did. Yes, their role was, of course, very serious, but at the same time, the people won the war at the cost of great efforts, at the cost of a great many lives," Medvedev said.
He underscored that the individuals including war veterans were entitled to their own opinion, people who hate Stalin or love him are entitled to their point of view, but the State's position was that the dictator committed mass crimes against the people.
"If we talk about the official assessment of Stalin by the government in recent years, since the emergence of the new Russian state, there is a clear assessment - Stalin committed mass crimes against own people. And despite the fact that he worked hard, despite the fact that under his leadership the country succeeded, what was done to its people cannot be forgiven," Medvedev declared.
Medvedev also called for the de-classifying all the documents about the WW-II and Stalin and make them freely available to Russians and foreigners, so that the myths and notions could be dispelled on the basis of hard facts.
Medvedev recently ordered the release of top secret documents signed by Stalin ordering execution of over 20 thousand Polish military officers in Katyn. He categorically rejected the view that Stalinism is experiencing a revival in Russia.
"If we talk about respect for Stalin and some other leaders, then in the 90 years (of communist rule) there were many admirers of this man, but nobody talked about the renaissance of Stalinism... This is absolutely ruled out," he added.