Communists placed 4,000 red carnations on Josef Stalin’s grave beside the Kremlin walls on Tuesday to celebrate what would have been the Soviet dictator’s 131st birthday.
Communist supporters raised 80,000 rubles (US$2,600) in a fundraising drive with the slogan “Two carnations for Comrade Stalin,” organizer Igor Sergeyev told the Interfax news agency.
Carrying a red flag and led by Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov, they piled the flowers beside a bust of Stalin that stands on his grave and round its neck.
Zyuganov on Tuesday called for the “re-Stalinization” of Russian society in an open letter to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, who has frankly criticized the rights abuses of the Soviet era.
The leader warned against a draft law, proposed by the presidential council for the development of civil society and human rights, which would ban the glorification of Stalinism.
“Putin and Medvedev’s stability is based on what Stalin and the Soviet authorities created. They have not created anything themselves in 10 years,” Zyuganov said at a news conference on Tuesday.
Stalin remains popular among hardline Communists, most elderly and poverty-stricken, and he is widely respected for leading the Soviet Union to victory in World War II, although opinion polls show his influence waning.
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