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Monument Commemorating Gulag Victims Vandalized In Russia

A section of the massive Mask Of Sorrow monument near the city of Magadan (file photo)

A prominent monument commemorating victims of the Soviet gulag system has been vandalized in Russia's Far East.

Unknown individuals used red paint to write "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 have been launched into the act of vandalism.

The sculpture was unveiled in 1996 near Magadan, the capital of the Kolyma region, where tens of thousands of Soviet citizens were imprisoned during Soviet dictator Josef Stalin's great purge campaign in the 1930s and '40s.

The sculpture was created by well-known Russian-American sculptor Ernst Neizvestny, who died in New York in August at the age of 91.

With reporting by Interfax