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Poll: Russians View Stalin as 'Greatest' Figure in History

FILE - A man holds a portrait of Soviet dictator Josef Stalin during a demonstration marking the 99th anniversary of the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution in Moscow, Russia, Nov. 7, 2016.

A recent poll of Russian opinion shows that a majority of the population thinks former dictator Josef Stalin was the greatest figure in history.

Current President Vladimir Putin came in a joint second with beloved Russian writer Alexander Pushkin.

The poll was conducted in April by the Levada Center, a Russian independent research organization not affiliated with the Russian government. The poll asked participants to make an order of the 10 greatest individuals of all time.

The order was not limited to Russian figures.

The poll said 38 percent chose Stalin as their top individual, with Putin and Pushkin coming in a close second with 34 percent. Former Soviet statesmen Mikhail Gorbachev came in last with 6 percent.

The results were vastly different than that of a similar poll done in 1989, where 12 percent chose Stalin.

It is estimated that more than 1 million people were killed during the Stalin regime, with millions more dying in forced labor camps or as a result of mass deportations and starvation.

In a 2012 poll, Stalin led with even higher numbers, indicating that his victories in World War II were more memorable than the countless executions under his rule.