Russian historian and Stalin apologist Igor Pykhalov has been beaten outside his St. Petersburg home by two unidentified attackers, Russian media report.
Pykhalov was left with a broken nose after the attack, which occurred on Thursday evening outside his apartment building. Some reports said the attackers were of Caucasian appearance and suggested the historian was targeted because of his writing.
"It seems to me that there is no other reason to attack me," the author was quoted as saying on Argumenty.ru.
The 45-year-old has written several books justifying the actions of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin, including Why Stalin Resettled Peoples on the deportation of whole nations, particularly from the North Caucasus, and has faced criticism from rights activists and historians alike.
Russia's Historical Memory foundation said Pykhalov's work draws a "mixed assessment" from experts and the public.
"The Historical Memory foundation believes there are a number of erroneous assertions contained in papers by Pykhalov," it said in a press release. "However, we are convinced that beatings should not become an argument in the debate about the tragic events of national history."
"The Historical Memory foundation wishes Igor Pykhalov a speedy recovery and hopes the people that attacked him will be found and punished."
A criminal case has been opened into the attack, but there have been no reports of any arrests yet.
MOSCOW, November 13 (RIA Novosti)