The Moscow Times website reports today (July 18, 2011) that Communists in the central Russian city of Penza have unveiled a monument of former Soviet dictator Josef Stalin.
About 60 people -- many of them World War II veterans -- gathered July 15 on the grounds of the local office of the Communist Party for the unveiling of the bust.
Stalin is still widely regarded among Russian veterans as a military genius who won the war against the Nazis. The Russian military was able to defeat the Nazi forces that invaded Russia during World War II, although this victory resulted in the loss of some 20 million Russian troops.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin have joined human rights activists in condemning Stalin for his purges. But it is the local authorities -- not the Kremlin -- that have the right to decide whether to allow a monument of Stalin on their soil.