Just how many millions of his countrymen does a dictator have to murder these days before he's reviled by his subjects? The late Soviet strongman Josef Stalin would doubtlessly be tickled to know that the Russian government is putting a new shine on Uncle Joe's reign of terror by giving him an image makeover in high school history textbooks. According to the latest textbooks, Stalin's rule was "strong" if a bit "cruel", but it's OK! After all, Stalin was merely using his indomitable will to strengthen the Soviet state. Why, that's just like Peter the Great, right? Or even Vladimir Putin! So really, what's all the fuss about, anyway?
Stalin's image makeover coincides with Putin's saber rattling with Georgia, land of Stalin's birth. Doubtlessly, Stalin would heartily approve of a strong, if cruel, leader looking to hold Russia together ... even if it just happens to mean swallowing up independent countries entirely. That's just what "strong" leaders do, right?