Russian President Vladimir Putin took time out from his visit to the beaches of Normandy Friday to make a chilling suggestion. Responding to a veteran's suggestion to restore the name of Stalingrad, Putin said straight-faced “it could be decided by a public vote.”
Stalingrad was the location of one of WWII’s most decisive battles between the Russian Red Army and the Nazis. Josef Stalin was the iron-fisted dictator of Russia. He had named the city after himself sparking German dictator Adolph Hitler to commit his entire Sixth Army to a battle to the death in 1942.
Putin’s comments were greeted with dubious reviews from a media fresh from covering his annexation of Crimea from Ukraine. Stalin annexed many European countries following Germany’s defeat in 1945.
The city was renamed Volgograd in 1961 as part of the Soviet Union's rejection of Dictator Josef Stalin's brutal regime. Apparently President Putin feels 53 years is enough time to forget Stalin’s purges from the 1930’s and 1940’s that caused the deaths and imprisonment of millions of Russians.
Stalin’s name has been used in some regional city names, but the resulting anger from ordinary Russians has kept that to a minimum. His legacy continues to cause fiery disputes.
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