A monument to Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin will be up in the new southeast Ukrainian city of Zaporozhie ahead of the May 9, 2010 Victory Day celebrations, the head of the city's Communist Party said today (March 25, 2010).
"A monument to Joseph Stalin....whose leadership led to the great victory over the Nazi invaders, will be put up in Zaporozhie at the request of World War II veterans," Oleksandr Zubchevskyi said. The statue will be guarded -- both day and night -- to prevent attacks on it, he added.
He also said that a second statue of Stalin would be erected in Kiev, the capital of Ukraine; however, he did not give further details, according to today's Ria Novosti (Russian) website.
Communist Party members and many veteran organizations insist that it was Stalin's leadership that pulled the Soviet Union through its darkest hour and freed Europe from Nazi tyranny.
On the other hand, analysts and others say that Stalin's mass purges of the army in the years before World War II left the country exposed to an attack by Germany. In attacking Russia, Adolph Hitler violated the Russian-German non-aggression pact, because of his belief that Germany would defeat Russia.
During Stalin's reign, millions of innocent people across the Soviet Union were executed on false charges of espionage, sabotage and anti-Soviet propaganda, or died of starvation or disease in labor camps.
Although Stalin had been baptized as a Christian in the Russian Orthodox Church, he renounced religion and was an atheist, as is customary for leaders of communist nations.