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Ingushetian Lawmakers Approve Bill Banning Glorification Of Stalin

There are about 20 monuments honoring Stalin across Russia.

Lawmakers in Russia's North Caucasus region of Ingushetia have approved in the first reading a bill that bans the glorification of Soviet dictator Josef Stalin's legacy.

Ingushetia's parliament speaker Zelimkhan Yevloyev said that the bill approved on February 22 bans the raising of monuments and busts of Stalin, as well as naming cities, towns, villages and streets after him.

The bill also bans justifying or glorifying Stalin's actions, as well as displaying his portraits in public places or official premises.

The bill was approved a day before the 73rd anniversary of the deportation of Ingush and Chechens from the North Caucasus.

From February 23 to March 9, 1944, Soviet authorities deported almost all Ingush and Chechens -- an estimated 650,000 people -- to Central Asia, claiming they were collaborating with Nazi Germany.

As many as half of the deportees died either on the journey or due to the harsh conditions in which they were forced to live.

In 1957, the survivors were allowed to return to the North Caucasus.

Polls conducted by the Levada Center independent national pollster in January showed that almost 50 percent of Russians view Stalin favorably -- the highest number in the last 16 years.

There are about 20 monuments honoring Stalin across Russia.

Based on reporting by TASS and Interfax