Through a poll conducted by a Russian TV station to determine the “best Russian” in history, Stalin placed third. The BBC has an article up about it and has the following quote:
“We now have to think very seriously, why the nation chooses to put [Joseph] Stalin in third place,” said actor and film director Nikita Mikhalkov, one of the contest’s judges, after the results were released.
Seems to me that it probably doesn’t involve that serious of thought to see why Stalin, despite his atrocious crimes against humanity, finished third. If these crimes are not publicized and are in fact suppressed within Russia (which I think is a pretty safe assumption), then how can we expect the Russian people to make judgements that fit with out knowledge of Stalin?