The Russian Orthodox Church has come under heavy criticism on the Internet this week over a 2014 wall calendar published by a revered monastery’s printing house that features portraits of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin.
The black-and-white calendar, titled “Stalin” and costing 200 roubles ($6), is advertised as “a great gift for veterans and history fans”. Historian Mikhail Babkin brought it to public attention on his blog on Jan.7.
“Disgrace, shame and insult to all those who perished,” one person wrote in one of nearly 200 comments under Babkin’s post, referring to the millions who died because of Stalin’s forced farm collectivisation and brutal political repression.
The Russian Orthodox Church, which was severely persecuted under Stalin but has enjoyed a resurgence since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, said it dismissed the head of the printing house in July once it found out about the printing but the calendars had already been delivered.