A Statue for Stalin?

Hitler and Stalin were ruthless dictators who committed murder on a vast scale, but they have come to be perceived very differently. Why is it impossible to imagine a Hitler statue in Germany, while statues of Stalin have been restored in towns across Georgia (his birthplace), with another to be erected in Moscow?

PRINCETON – Hitler and Stalin were ruthless dictators who committed murder on a vast scale. But, while it is impossible to imagine a Hitler statue in Berlin, or anywhere else in Germany, statues of Stalin have been restored in towns across Georgia (his birthplace), and another is to be erected in Moscow as part of a commemoration of all Soviet leaders.

The difference in attitude extends beyond the borders of the countries over which these men ruled. In the United States, there is a bust of Stalin at the National D-Day Memorial in Virginia. In New York, I recently dined at a Russian restaurant that featured Soviet paraphernalia, waitresses in Soviet uniforms, and a painting of Soviet leaders in which Stalin was prominent. New York also has its KGB Bar. To the best of my knowledge, there is no Nazi-themed restaurant in New York; nor is there a Gestapo or SS bar.

So, why is Stalin seen as relatively more acceptable than Hitler?

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