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New Poll: Russians Choose Joseph Stalin as Greatest Historical Figure

Russians were asked in a poll to list the “top 10 most outstanding people of all time” and topping the charts, 38 percent said that was the Soviet dictator, Joseph Stalin.

Stalin had tough competition, as President Vladimir Putin and writer Alexander Pushkin were hot on his heels at 34 percent. Other names on the 20 person list include Russian communist Vladimir Lenin, Tsar Peter the Great and first man in space Yury Gagarin. The last Soviet Union leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, brought up the bottom of the list at six percent.

If you’re wondering about the preponderance of Russians, that would be because 17 of 20 people on the list were Russian figures. The only three outsiders were Napoleon Bonaparte, Albert Einstein and Isaac Newton.

Stalin served as dictator of the USSR from 1929 to 1953. His reign oversaw the killing of millions of his own citizens and sending many others to backbreaking labor in the Gulags. Content to rationalize all that, Yahoo reported that many Russians remember him for turning the Soviet Union into an industrial and military superpower and his role in winning World War II.

Levada Centre, an independent pollster, conducted this poll in April and asked 1,600 Russians. Levada took a similar poll in 2012, in which Stalin was on top again, but with an even higher score of 42 percent.

[image via creative commons]

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