Russia’s North Caucasus republic of Ingushetia is on track to ban all memorials to Joseph Stalin, in spite of concerns that such a ban would constitute an infringement on freedom of speech.
Local lawmakers came under fire when they proposed the law in February this year, facing sharp criticism from the Prosecutor’s Office, who claimed that the legislation was a violation of human rights. Earlier today, Russian news agency Interfax reported that Ingushetia’s lawmakers would continue to move forward with the bill, which unanimously passed its first reading in parliament, despite its critics.
“Someone out there may have another opinion about the crimes of Stalin […] but we will go till the end, we will consider and adopt the law in any case,” the speaker of the Ingush parliament, Zelimkhan Yevloyev, told Russian newspaper Kommersant.
If signed into law, the bill would ban all memorials to Stalin, including public events held in his honour, portraits of the former Soviet leader in public spaces, and naming streets or buildings after him.
In 1944, the Ingush and Chechen populations of the North Caucasus were deported to Central Asia under Stalin. More than 500,000 people were forced to leave their homes, while many died either en route or in the harsh conditions of exile in Central Asia.