Medvedev to launch 'de-Stalinization' drive: report
President Dmitry Medvedev will launch a new "de-Stalinization" drive by reminding Russians of the crimes ordered by the Soviet dictator, the Vedomosti business paper reported Friday.
Stalin's role in Russia's history will be addressed in January when Medvedev meets with his new human rights envoy Mikhail Fedotov and rights activists, the newspaper cited several of the invited participants as saying.
The campaign will be based on declassifying all secret Soviet archives and the millions of case files that the secret services had compiled on regular civilians, the report said.
The programme will also include a search for remains from Stalin-era prison camps and the establishment of new monuments to those who fell to the regime, Vedomosti said.
The rights campaigners will also press Medvedev to "give a political and legal assessment of totalitarian crimes," the newspaper wrote.
Medvedev broke ranks with his predecessor Vladimir Putin in May by slamming the Soviet Union as a totalitarian regime that suppressed human rights.
In a newspaper interview published two days before Russia marked the 65th anniversary of victory in World War II, Medvedev said the crimes of wartime dictator Joseph Stalin could never be forgiven.
"The Soviet Union was a very complicated state and if we speak honestly the regime that was built in the Soviet Union... cannot be called anything other than totalitarian," Medvedev said at the time,.
"Unfortunately, this was a regime where elementary rights and freedoms were suppressed."
Both Medvedev and Putin, a former foreign intelligence agent, had until then rarely criticised the Soviet system and instead focused on its achievements.
But analysts told Vedomosti that Medvedev was making "de-Stalinization" into a central theme of his stay in the Kremlin.
"This is clearly a Kremlin project... that is aimed at erasing (the country's) image problems in the West," Carnegie Moscow Center analyst Nikolai Petrov told the newspaper.
Medvedev also raised the subject when he met Western political analysts and diplomats at Russia's Valdai discussion forum in September, Petrov said.
© 2010 AFP