Vladimir Putin’s Russia is rehabilitating Stalin. We must not let it happen | Irina Sherbakova

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An archive of artefacts from Stalin’s brutal reign should stand as evidence against Putin’s vision of a ‘heroic’ Soviet past

• Irina Sherbakova was a founding member of the human rights organisation Memorial

Great expectations characterised 1989. In Russia, the rock band Kino sang “We are waiting for changes!” In huge public rallies on the streets of Moscow, millions demanded freedom and democracy. The Gorbachev era brought about a frenzy of change, and people witnessed incredible events on a weekly basis: they snatched up newspapers, hung on every word broadcast on TV, and with every passing day they felt more alive and free.

Related: ‘Homage to evil’: Russian activists detained over Stalin protest

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