(Moscow) The Russian city of Volgograd (formerly Stalingrad) inaugurated on Wednesday, according to the Ria Novosti news agency, a bust of Stalin, on the eve of the 80e anniversary of the Soviet victory over the Nazis in Stalingrad, commemorations in which Vladimir Putin will participate.
Monuments to the glory of Stalin, who embodies the Soviet victory over the Nazis but also a regime of terror that claimed millions of victims, are rare in Russia.
According to images broadcast by Ria Novosti, local elected officials and representatives of the city of Volgograd inaugurated this bust of Stalin alongside those of two military leaders famous for their role in the Battle of Stalingrad, Georgy Zhukov and Alexander Vasilyevsky.
Under a gray sky and the eyes of dozens of onlookers, soldiers laid flowers at the foot of the three bronze busts.
According to the artist Sergei Chtcherbakov, who was in charge of the production and interviewed by the local media V1.ru, “everything was fast, the order had to be executed in a short time”.
Earlier Wednesday, ceremonies in honor of the Soviet victory in Stalingrad began with wreath laying at the foot of the Eternal Flame on the mass grave of the city’s defenders.
The days of 1er and February 2 were declared unworked in Volgograd by the authorities. President Vladimir Putin is expected to speak on Wednesday, nearly a year after ordering the start of the offensive in Ukraine.
These commemorations come as the Kremlin has consistently presented its offensive against Ukraine as a “denazification” operation, in line with the legacy of the Second World War.
For Russians, Stalingrad is synonymous with victory over Nazism and this battle is central to the patriotism promoted by the Kremlin.
Vladimir Putin continues to describe as “neo-Nazis” the Ukrainian authorities who are determined, according to him, to exterminate the Russian-speaking populations of eastern Ukraine.