Georgians show mixed feelings about Stalin

Oct. 1, 2008 at 12:33 PM   |   Comments

GORI, Georgia, Oct. 1 (UPI) -- The nation of Georgia has a complex relationship with its most famous son -- the late Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin, residents say.

Stalin, whose real surname was Dzhugashvili, enjoys an enduring cult of personality among a large minority of Georgians who tend to overlook the millions who suffered under the darker sides of his rule and concentrate on his accomplishments as an empire builder and defeater of Nazi fascism, The New York Times reported Wednesday.

"All Georgians respect Stalin, because he was a great leader who created a great empire -- and of course, he was the most famous Georgian who ever lived," Jamil Ziyadaliev, who impersonates Stalin for weddings and other functions, told the newspaper.

The Times cited a survey taken by the political Web site Tbilisi Forum that asked whether people were proud that Stalin was Georgian in which a vocal minority of 37 percent of the several hundred respondents said "yes," while 52 percent said "no."

"Every Georgian knows Stalin came from here. He may have given his execution orders in Russian, but he did so with a heavy Georgian accent," Georgian historian Vakhtang Guruli told the newspaper.

© 2008 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
Recommended UPI Stories
Featured UPI Collection
Notable deaths of 2014 [PHOTOS]

Notable deaths of 2014 [PHOTOS]

Most Popular
Man who spent 24 years in prison for arson murder freed
Kamala Harris to appeal court ruling against death penalty
Amish girls allegedly lured by captors with puppy
Heather Mack, mother, argued in lobby before suitcase murder
Jodi Arias granted delay in death penalty retrial
Trending News