February 05, 2023

Stalin Returns to Volgograd


Stalin Returns to Volgograd
People in period costume welcome Stalin's new bust. Sotavision, Youtube

A new bust of Soviet leader Josef Stalin has been unveiled in Volgograd — formerly known as Stalingrad — in connection with the eightieth anniversary of the Soviet victory in the gruesome Battle of Stalingrad (1942-43). 

The statue was set near the Battle of Stalingrad Museum and other monuments, like the infamous Mamayev Kurgan — a 279-foot statue of Mother Russia overlooking the city. The bust of Stalin is flanked by similar statues of Soviet leaders Georgy Zhukov and Aleksander Vasilevsky. It is also just meters from a memorial to victims of Soviet oppression.

Officials unveiled the bust on February 1. The head of the Volgograd Oblast's Duma, Aleksander Bloshkin, explained why Stalin reappeared: "In Russia, it is all the more reverent to stay connected to the preservation of our legacy of victory." This, of course, as Russia continues to be bogged down in its conflict in Ukraine.

President Vladimir Putin's visit to Volgograd on February 2 also ignited a debate over whether the city should be renamed Stalingrad (the city's name from 1925-1961). According to a recent poll by Vtsom Novosti, 67% of residents prefer to remain Volgogradians.

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