Residents of a southern Russian town unveiled a new statue to &to=http://english.pravda.ru/main/2002/12/21/41169.html' target=_blank>Josef Stalin Wednesday, as Communists and others marked the 126th anniversary of the late Soviet dictator's birth.
More three dozen residents of Digora, in the Caucasus region of North Ossetia, laid carnations at the gold bust topping a granite obelisk, while children in Soviet-style red kerchiefs saluted.
"Under Stalin, every year we waited for improvements and every year there were improvements. It's a fact," sculptor Mikhail Dzboyev said in televised comments.
In Moscow, several dozen people carrying red flags with Lenin's face braved wintry weather to lay visit Stalin's grave in Red Square, while in the Georgian town of Gori, where Stalin was born, people gathered to toast the Soviet leader.
A growing number of Russian towns in recent years have considered erecting monuments to Stalin, a controversial issue for many Russians who say the dictator was responsible for the deaths of millions of his own people.
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