On May 9, during the Immortal Regiment march on Stefanovskaya Square, several participants took portrait of Stalin instead of portraits of relatives who took part in the Great Patriotic War.
Several young men and a girl who introduced themselves as students of the Syktyvkar State University explained that they had come out with a portrait of Stalin, as they considered his role in the war very important.
— Why are you carrying a portrait of Stalin?
— He was a commander-in-chief and should be the first in the Immortal Regiment march, he played a key role. In fact, the Great Patriotic War was a war of systems, economic and political. And the one who was at the head, played an essential role in management, because he basically made decisions.
— But so many people died in the Gulag.
— How many? As a percentage of prisoners, there were fewer prisoners than in the United States nowadays, a democratic country. Everyone loves the United States, but it was awful in the Soviet Union [ironically].
— Don’t look up to the US. Why should we catch up with them on these parameters?
— We do not talk about the modern US, but about the peak of repressions — there were more of them than in Russia.
— Do you represent any organization?
— No, we are SSU students. We are on our own.
— Who painted this poster?
— Yulia [the young man points to the companion].
— And who was the initiator of bringing Stalin?
— All of us.
After the demonstration of the portrait on the main square of Syktyvkar, the students went to the Stefanovsky Cathedral. The students carried writing of Marx and Engels. 'We also have Lenin,' they said, 'but did not take along.'
Elena Solovyova, photo by author and Grigory Peel, «7x7»