Stalin historian beaten in Saint Petersburg
A Russian publicist and author of a book defending Stalin's deportations of the Chechens in 1944 has been attacked by two assailants of Caucasian appearance, police said Saturday.
"Igor Pykhalov was beaten on Thursday night near his house by two people aged about 30 and of Caucasian appearance," a police representative from the southeastern Nevsky district of Russia's second largest city told AFP.
The attackers made no attempt to rob him and fled after seeing a passersby, said Pykhalov, who was hospitalized with a broken nose.
"I am sure that the incident has to do with my 'friends' from North Caucasus," he told local online newspaper Fontanka.ru.
Igor Pykhalov has written several books about the Stalin era, notably 'Why Did Stalin Deport People?' where he said the that Soviet dictator "had solid reasons" for deporting the Chechens.
Stalin's deportations affected thousands of Chechens, Ingushs, Crimean Tatars and other ethnic minorities who were forcefully relocated to Central Asian countries such as Kazakhstan for allegedly collaborating with Nazi Germany.
© 2010 AFP