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Medvedev Says Stalin's Crimes Toward His Own People Cannot Be Forgiven

Russian Communist Party supporters hold a portrait of Soviet leader Josef Stalin at rally in Moscow in February.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev says crimes committed by Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin toward his own people can never be forgiven.

Medvedev, in an interview with the Russian "Izvestia" newspaper published today, also said that the Soviet Union under Stalin was a "totalitarian" regime where "elementary rights and freedoms were suppressed."

Medvedev's comments came amid a debate about Stalin's role as Russia prepares to mark the 65th anniversary of victory over Nazi Germany in World War II.

Preparations for VE Day commemoration ceremonies on May 9, to mark the day the war in Europe ended, were overshadowed by a controversy about an abortive plan to hang posters of Stalin.

In his interview, Medvedev dismissed the notion that the war against Nazi Germany was won by Stalin, saying it was "won by our people, not by Stalin or even the generals."

compiled from agency reports