A former top Russian prosecutor has turned heads after trying to sue the deceased Soviet leader Joseph Stalin for genocide and sending citizens to the infamous gulag labour camps.
Former prosecutor Igor Stepanov cited Stalin’s 1937 order to shoot 82,700 “anti-Soviet elements” and banish 193,400 people to the infamous gulags as the reason behind the report he filed with the Investigative Committee of Russia and Prosecutor General of Russia, which seeks to open criminal proceedings against the deceased dictator
According to local media, Stepanov believes Stalin should be convicted of the genocide of Orthodox priests and other citizens, including 20 of the ex-prosecutor’s own relatives, who were arrested, then either exiled or shot under Stalin’s rule.
However, Stepanov has run up against resistance, including from Yevgeny Romanovsky, the deputy prosecutor of Ivanovo Oblast, western Russia, and other regional investigators, who refuse to open his case. Stepanov himself has admitted that opening his case will be impossible, given that Stalin died in 1953.
However, Stepanov has since appealed to the Constitutional Court of Russia and is prepared to take his case to the European Court of Human Rights, according to local media.
Stepanov hopes his decree will eventually result in Stalin’s actions being legally assessed and ultimately confirmed as crimes in Russia, as they were in Ukraine in 2009.
Several monuments to Stalin still stand in Russia, where the late dictator still commands popularity. According to a March 2019 survey by pollster Levada-Center, 70 percent of Russians approve of his role in Russian history. Estimates for Stalin’s total number of victims range from six million to 20 million.
In 2018 Stepanov tried to sue FSB director Alexander Bortnikov over his statements allegedly whitewashing Stalinist repressions, but to no avail.
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Story By: William McGee, Sub-Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Central European News
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