March 5 - Russian communists mark the 60th anniversary of the death of Joseph Stalin, and Georgian Stalinists commemorate the day in his hometown Gori. Sarah Sheffer reports.
Sixty years after the death of Joseph Stalin, many of his supporters are marking the anniversary. The dictator led the Soviet Union from 1924 to 1953 and millions were executed or sent to prison under his rule. But today, there are many who see him as a hero. And hundreds of supporters gathered in Moscow's Red Square on Monday. (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) RUSSIAN COMMUNIST PARTY LEADER, GENNADY ZYUGANOV, SAYING, 'Today is Stalin's remembrance day. A distinguished state and political figure, the supreme commander-in-chief. The man who had been the head of the Soviet state for 30 years and raised it to the heights of great victories and to the space." In Stalin's hometown of Gori in Georgia, many residents took part in a church procession. (SOUNDBITE) (Georgian) GORI RESIDENT NAZI STEPANISHVILI, SAYING: "This man is the dearest person of my life after God of course. I am from Gori and I was brought up with his love and even today I live to defend his love," said one Gori resident. Marking Stalin's death is an annual tradition for communists steeped in nostalgia for the Soviet era.