Medieval leader voted Russia’s symbol, Stalin comes third

By RIA Novosti,

Moscow : Medieval prince Alexander Nevsky was chosen as Russia’s symbol in a nationwide television vote, which also voted former Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin as the third greatest Russian historical figure.

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The winners in the project “The Name of Russia” were announced on the Rossiya state TV channel late Sunday after a three-month Internet and SMS vote.

Alexander Nevsky – best known for stopping the advance of the Teutonic Knights and Swedes into Russia in the 13th century, as well as his diplomatic efforts – was named the greatest Russian with more than 529,000 voters. He was canonized in the 16th century.

Order of the Teutonic Knights of St. Mary’s Hospital in Jerusalem – or Teutonic Knights – is a German Roman Catholic religious order founded in the 12th century. They also served as a crusading military order.

Stalin, who led Russia through World War II and sent millions of people to death in prisons during political purges in the late 1930s, received about 520,000 votes.

Despite official condemnation of Stalin’s personality cult and ongoing efforts to rehabilitate the victims of political repression, rights groups in Russia worry that many Russians still have a positive view of the dictator as a statesman.

Stalin was reported to have led the vote in July. In August, the organizers restarted the vote, saying Stalin’s lead had been a result of numerous spam attacks.

Pyotr Stolypin, a prime minister in 1906-1911 under Tsar Nicholas II who became known in history as an agrarian reformer but gained notoriety for his crackdown on revolutionary groups, came in second with about 524,000 votes.

The 12-person shortlist for Sunday’s final included writers Alexander Pushkin and Fyodor Dostoyevsky, legendary military commander Alexander Suvorov, Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin and Tsar Ivan “the Terrible”.

“I congratulate everybody on the choice made by the Russians,” Sergei Mironov, speaker of the upper house of parliament, said commenting on the results. “People turned to the only saint among the 12 proposed candidates. This is the right choice.”