Stalin ruled Russia for 29 years. He died in 1953 leaving behind a police state which took 25 years to dismantle. I have read a lot about Stalin and also visited Russia when it was the USSR and also after the Soviet state had been dismantled. I was wonder stuck that most Russians do not criticize Stalin. Though I have read that Stalin signed execution orders, yet the Russian people are nostalgic about him. A look at the Russian websites is again some thing that can confuse the best of brains. Both communists and anti-communists give him a fair amount of respect. The communists glorify Stalin as the builder of modern Russia and as the colleague of Lenin who ushered in an era of Russian greatness as a counter poise to the United States.
The anti communists also have good things to say about Stalin. They give him credit for the victory over Hitler. They of course do not mention his communist ands socialistic leanings and concentrate on his achievements. The net result is that both the anti-communists and communists see Stalin as a man who led Russia forward, not as a cruel despotic dictator who got thousands executed. In effect Stalin is a unifying force in Russia. This is something hard to digest and Putin is trying to wear that legacy of Stalin.
The fact is that the Russian people are looking at Stalin in an emotional manner. They remember that Russia was a monolith state and a global power. Emotions dog the common man; His crimes have gone in a crypt as Stalin is remembered more and more as a great son of Russia. People remember his epic clash with Hitler and how he won the war single handed against the Nazis.
Vladimir Putin the man who calls the shots in Russia is trying to wear the mantle of Stalin to see that Russia rises again from the ashes like the proverbial bird, the phoenix. Time alone will tell whether he succeeds, but success or failure the image of Stalin as a great Russian will not be dimmed. He remains a legend, a great man and a great Russian