Putin-Ally Kadyrov Curses Hero Worship of Stalin

Russian Communists carry a portrait of Soviet dictator Josef Stalin at a Communist march in Moscow, May 9, 2010. Denis Sinyakov/reuters

Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov has condemned hero worshippers of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin, declaring that his people "defeated fascism, not Stalin."

Stalin's personal approval rating has risen under Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has slowly restored popular Soviet symbols, such as the national anthem's music and the Communist-era celebration of victory in World War II.

In fact, for the benefit of celebrating Moscow's greatest military victory in modern times, Putin has defended one of the most controversial aspects of Stalin's regime, such as his pact with the Nazis to invade the countries between them without declaring war on one another.

Kadyrov, although an enthusiastic supporter of Putin, has drawn a tougher line on the Soviet strongman. While many regions in Russia marked Defender of the Fatherland Day Thursday, Kadyrov wrote on his Instagram account about the repressions against many Muslim communities of the Soviet Union under Stalin.

"Thousands of Chechens defended the Caucasus, Stalingrad, Moscow, broke through the siege of Leningrad, took Konigsberg and Berlin, liberated Warsaw, Kiev, Prague and Vienna," he wrote. "As a show of thanks for this, Stalin dealt with the Chechen people.

"On February 23, 1944, the Chechen people were exiled in beastly wagons and deported to Siberia and the endless steppes of Central Asia. More than half of all Chechens died of cold, hunger, epidemics and the callousness of authorities. Only in 1939 did the Chechen population reach the numbers of 1939.

"Joseph Stalin, may his name be cursed thousands of times, wanted to wipe our people from the face of the Earth and traces of it," Kadyrov declared. "And to those who strive to worship Stalin as a hero, assigning exclusively to him alone the victory (in World War II) should remember the tens of millions that died on the frontline," he concluded.