Communists turn to Stalin to fight crisis

MOSCOW Wed Jun 24, 2009 12:30pm EDT

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MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian communists have put up giant billboards of Soviet dictator Josef Stalin in a southern city, promoting his tough methods as the best remedy for the world economic crisis.

Stalin killed millions of people during his 30 year rule until his death in 1953, but many in recession-hit Russia have grown nostalgic for his strong leadership, and he was voted the third most popular historical figure in a nationwide poll.

"Everybody knows that under Stalin our country achieved the highest rate of economic growth and development in other spheres, and the great victory (over Nazi Germany)," Sergei Rudakov, a senior Communist party official in the town of Voronezh, told Reuters by telephone.

Local communists paid an advertising agency 80,000 roubles ($2,534) to plaster Stalin's image for one month on 10 huge billboards around Voronezh, a city with a population of around one million.

(Reporting by Dmitry Solovyov; Editing by Elizabeth Fullerton)

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