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On June 22 residents of Voronezh found their local billboards featuring an ominous, but familiar face: Comrade Stalin “Victory will be ours!” reads a slogan in large white letters below a large picture of the vozhd. The question, curious residents asked, was why Comrade Stalin’s visage was once again taking such a prominent public space, and more importantly, who put it there?
According to Kommersant, the Stalin billboards are part of a campaign by the Communist Party to commemorate the 130th birthday of the generalissimo. Sergei Rudakov, a KPRF regional deputy, told the daily that his party wanted “to remind every resident about the great person and his achievements. The billboards, which were designed by three advertising companies, cost 8,000 rubles apiece.
Not everyone was happy to see Stalin dotting the skyline. Most of all, Voronezh’s city administration, which ordered that the billboards be taken down because, according to the law, “the contents of posters are not regarded as either commercial or social advertisements, are not directed toward a charitable or a socially useful purpose, maintain the interests of the state, and there are not objects of advertisement on the billboard.”
“In my opinion,” KPRF regional secretary Andrei Rogatnev told Kommersant, “If you follow the principle of the lack of objects of advertisement on billboards, then it is necessary to remove the posters where Vladimir Putin is presenting [Voronezh] mayor Sergei Koliukh with a certificate conferring Voronezh as the “City of Military Glory.”
Well, double standards hold in Voronezh. The city administration has demanded that the billboards be taken down, and if they aren’t, it will revoke the licenses of billboard companies who put them up.