"There are absolutely obvious things -- the Great Patriotic War was won by our people. Neither Stalin nor even the generals did anything as important as they did. Yes, their role was, of course, very serious, but at the same time, the people won the war at the cost of great efforts, at the cost of a great many lives," Medvedev said in an interview published in Isvestia.
The interview was also broadcast on state television, RIA Novosti reported.
Medvedev said Stalinism will not return to the country.
"One must not speak under any circumstances about the return of Stalinism to our everyday life, that we return the symbols, that we intend to use some posters or do something else," he said.
Russia celebrates Victory Day on Sunday, marking the 65th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe.
Millions of people were killed or spent years in concentration camps under Stalin. Medvedev said both he and President Vladimir Putin believe Stalin committed great crimes.