Communists from Russia's second city of St. Petersburg sent a request to city officials on Wednesday if signs and banners of the Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin would decorate the city during the 65th anniversary of WWII Victory Day celebrations scheduled for May 9.
"The Supreme Commander exercised direct control over all frontline operations during the entire war, showing high responsibility and close attention to his work as well as will to victory. Under Stalin, Russia rose from the dust and became a great country to defeat Hitler's Germany and to save mankind from fascism," the request published on the St. Petersburg legislative assembly site said.
In their letter, the communists emphasized Stalin's sophisticated war-leading skills and successful appointment of commanders.
In the text of the inquiry, the communists asked St. Petersburg's mayor whether special measures for decorating the city with Stalin's portraits and billboards ahead of the 65th anniversary of WWII would be taken.
Meanwhile, the scandal around the use of Stalin's portraits in Moscow during celebrations, which was scrapped by the organizing committee's decision not to decorate the capital's streets with billboards depicting the soviet dictator on May 9, was sparked again by a group letter from 24 war veterans.
"We demand the media halt insinuations over issues of historic truth in the festive decorating of Moscow, slanderous attacks against the Moscow government and veteran organizations," the letter said.
They accused television and other media of portraying too many anti-Stalinists who, in their opinion, distort the historic truth and lead to the disintegration of the Russian society.
Earlier, Russian Culture Minister Alexander Avdeyev condemned plans for decorating Russian cities with Stalin's portraits. "I have my own position - I am totally against the appearance of Stalin's pictures ahead of Victory Day," he told Ekho Moskvy radio.
On May 25, the Communist Party of the southeast Ukrainian city of Zaporozhie announced that a monument to Stalin would be put up ahead of May 9 Victory Day celebrations in the country.
Stalin's role during WWII has been the subject of intense debate in Russia and the ex-Soviet states.
Communist Party members and veteran organizations insist that it was Stalin's leadership that pulled the Soviet Union through its darkest hour and freed Europe from the tyranny of Nazism.
However, rights organizations and analysts, among others, say that Stalin's mass purges of the Army in the years before the war left the country exposed to an attack by Germany.
During Stalin's reign, millions of people across the U.S.S.R. were executed on false charges of espionage, sabotage and anti-Soviet propaganda or died of starvation, disease or exposure in labor camps.
ST. PETERSBURG, March 31 (RIA Novosti)