A prominent monument commemorating victims of the Soviet gulag system has been vandalized in Russia's Far East.
Unknown individuals have written with red paint "Stalin is alive" and drew a red star -- a Soviet symbol -- on the gigantic sculpture called The Mask Of Sorrow near the city of Magadan.
Local police said on December 1 that preliminary investigations had been launched into the act of vandalism.
The sculpture was unveiled in 1996 near Magadan, the capital of Kolyma region, where many thousands of Soviet citizens served their prison terms during Soviet dictator Josef Stalin's great purge campaign in the 1930s and 1940s.
The sculpture was created by well-known Russian-American sculptor Ernst Neizvestny, who died in New York in August at the age of 91.