Alexander Nevsky voted greatest Russian

Dec. 29, 2008 at 9:48 AM
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MOSCOW, Dec. 29 (UPI) -- Medieval Prince Alexander Nevsky has been named the greatest Russian of all time in a television poll, officials said Monday.

Nevsky, best known for stopping the advance of the Teutonic knights and Swedes into Russia in the 13th century, as well as for his diplomatic efforts, was tabbed the greatest Russian by more than 529,000 voters in a poll conducted by the Rossiya state TV channel, RIA Novosti reported.

The prince was canonized as a saint in the 16th century.

Former Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin, meanwhile, finished third in the poll behind Pyotr Stolypin, a prime minister from 1906 to 1911 under Czar Nicholas II. Stalin remains popular among Russians despite official condemnation of his sending millions of people to their deaths in prisons during the political purges of the late 1930s, and reportedly was leading the polling for a time this summer, RIA Novosti said.

"I congratulate everybody on the choice made by the Russians," said Sergei Mironov, speaker of Russia's upper house of Parliament. "People turned to the only saint among the 12 proposed candidates. This is the right choice."

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