29 Dec 2008

Stalin remains close to top of Russian pops

9:31 pm on 29 December 2008

The Soviet dictator Josef Stalin remains popular in Russia despite the purges that marked his rule, according to a nationwide poll.

The Georgian-born Stalin is third in the poll of most popular Russians run by Rossiya state television channel.

Millions of Soviet citizens perished from famine during forced collectivisation, were executed as "enemies of the people", or died in Gulag labour camps during Stalin's rule, which lasted almost 30 years.

Nevertheless, he has won an 11.5% share of the voting so far.

The frontrunner in the 12 finalists is Prince Alexander Nevsky, who defeated German invaders, followed by Pyotr Stolypin, a prime minister in the early 20th century.