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More than half of Russians call Stalin a ‘wise leader’: poll

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More than half of Russians believe the Soviet dictator Stalin was a wise leader, a new poll by Levada independent polling centre showed Friday.

Levada found 57 percent of Russians said they entirely or generally agreed that Stalin was a “wise leader who made the USSR powerful and prosperous.”

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Levada said the figure was at a “maximum level” for its polls, up 10 percent on four years ago.

The pollsters also found that 71 percent of Russians agreed that “whatever mistakes or sins are attributed to Stalin, the most important thing is that he led our people to victory in World War II.”

That figure was up 11 percent on 2012, with Levada linking increased levels of positive feeling about Stalin’s role in World War II to Russia’s current involvement in armed conflict.

“In our view, negativity towards (Stalin) falls in periods of armed conflicts with Russia’s involvement when historical memory about ‘enemies’, victory and defence becomes more vivid,” Levada researchers said in the analysis of the poll.

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It cited 2008-2009 when Russia was in conflict with Georgia and “the events in eastern Ukraine,” despite Russia’s official denial that it is fighting with separatists in Ukraine.

Asked whether they agreed with the view that Stalin was a “brutal tyrant” who killed millions, 62 percent said yes, while 23 percent disagreed. The figures had changed slightly since 2008, from 68 and 19 percent, respectively.

The seeming contradiction reflects the contradictory government policy on Stalin and his legacy, said Yan Rachinsky, one of the founders of Memorial rights group which has chronicled the purges and works to commemorate their victims.

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“On the one hand, the authorities are memorialising the victims of repressions, on the other hand they erect Stalin monuments,” Rachinsky told AFP.

The poll questioned 1,600 people and was carried out between March 11 and 14 in 48 different regions in Russia.

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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’51 dry martinis’: The day Hemingway liberated the Ritz bar in Paris

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Even for Ernest Hemingway, a man whose bravado was matched only by his thirst, his liberation of the Ritz Hotel's bar in Paris was the stuff of legend.

Officially the Nobel prize-winning author of "A Farewell to Arms" and "The Sun Also Rises" was supposed to be a war correspondent for the American magazine Collier's when he entered the French capital on August 25, 1944.

In reality, the macho novelist, who strode from a commandeered Jeep with all the swagger of a general to take over the city's most luxurious hotel, was waging his own swashbuckling private war against the Third Reich.

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‘I must get my head screwed on’: Conor McGregor sorry for ‘unacceptable’ pub attack on older man

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Mixed martial arts star Conor McGregor apologized on Thursday for his attack on an older man in a Dublin bar which was captured on video before going viral last week.

In an interview with ESPN on Thursday, the controversial Irish fighter said he was mortified by his conduct shown on the video, in which he punches the man in an apparently unprovoked attack.

"I was in the wrong," McGregor said. "That man deserved to enjoy his time in the pub without having it end the way it did.

"I must come here before you and take accountability and take responsibility. I owe it to the people that have been supporting me. I owe it to my mother, my father, my family. I owe it to the people who trained me in martial arts. That's not who I am."

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Google says YouTube campaign targeted Hong Kong protests

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Google on Thursday said it disabled a series of YouTube channels that appeared to be part of a coordinated influence campaign against pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong.

The announcement by YouTube's parent company came after Twitter and Facebook accused the Chinese government of backing a social media campaign to discredit Hong Kong's protest movement and sow political discord in the city.

Google disabled 210 YouTube channels that it found behaved in a coordinated manner while uploading videos related to the Hong Kong protests, according to Shane Huntley of the company's security threat analysis group.

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