The Russian Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov has demanded that the city of Volgograd is returned to its Soviet name Stalingrad (the city of Joseph Stalin), to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the bloodiest battle in the WWII.
“I’m confident that justice will prevail! There are streets, squares, and boulevards named after Stalingrad almost in all the counties in the world. That’s why it’d be fair to return to Volgograd its true name – Stalingrad,” Zyuganov stated at a round-table discussion devoted to the anniversary of the Battle of Stalingrad.
The southern Russian city of Volgograd – originally called Tsaritsyn – was renamed several times and got its current name in 1961.
However, the entire world knows it as Stalingrad because of one of the major battles in the Second World War and as the turning point that consequently lead to the defeat of the Nazi Germany. The fight took place between August 1942 and February 2, 1943 and claimed the lives of nearly two million people from both sides.
The city was named after Joseph Stalin in 1925. It was in recognition of his and the residents’ role in the defense against anti-Bolshevik troops during the Civil war that followed the October 1917 revolution.
While alive, Stalin managed to create around him the atmosphere or worship that later was labeled a “personality cult.” After his death he was seen as a bloody tyrant who killed millions of his own people, sent millions more to prisons and made others live in fear.
However, many still see Stalin as a person who knew how to bring things to order and keep everything under control. The Russian Communist party, KPRF often refers to Stalin as the leader who managed to build Russian industry up from scratch.
Stalin is also praised for defeating the Nazis in the WWII, even though it cost the USSR over 25 million of lives.
In 2010, a group of activists in St Petersburg launched a so-called Victory Bus campaign and placed images of Joseph Stalin on public buses on the eve May 9, when Russia celebrates the WWII victory. The initiative was later supported in about 40 cities across the former USSR, stirring up controversy and infuriating many people.
In 2009, billboards with the face of the dictator appeared on the streets of the city of Voronezh in Central Russia. The campaign was paid for by the Communists and was launched on June 22, the anniversary of the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union. Again, the move was aimed at commemorating the victor – Stalin.