Hundreds of people have gathered in the Red Square to commemorate the 60th anniversary of Joseph Stalin’s death.
The Russian communist leader Gennady Zyuganov was at forefront of the ceremony laying flowers at his memorial bust. The Soviet ruler remains hugely popular and is widely regarded as a hero.
But that view clashes with some who say homage should not be paid to a man responsible for the deaths of millions.
Human rights activist Arseny Roginsky said: “During 1937 and 1938, 1,500,000 people had been jailed. 700,000 of them were sentenced to death.”
In his hometown of Gori in Georgia, Stalin’s role in history is celebrated. His supporters say that he led the country to victory over Nazi Germany and any parallels drawn to the leader of the Third Reich are far off the mark.
“He in fact saved the world from Nazi Germany. To say that he was similar to Hitler is a sin, a crime against humanity,” said Alexander Lursmanashvili, head of the regional Stalinists’ organisation.
Stalin’s role in history will always be controversial and it seems certain he’ll always be regarded in equal measures with as much animosity as admiration.