The director of a Russian museum at a Stalin-era prison camp says local officials have taken over the site and removed references to the Soviet dictator’s crimes.
“Of course it’s a political move,” Viktor Shmyrov told the BBC.
Perm-36, in Russia’s Ural mountains, is the only surviving camp with buildings dating back to the Stalinist terror. A non-governmental group has been managing the museum, but is disbanding after arguments with Perm officials.
Mr Shmyrov said the takeover by the Perm authorities was less about a rehabilitation of Stalin than “connected with the political situation in the country“.
“We are already seeing the creation of a Stalinist-type state – enormous power is concentrated in the hands of one man,” he said.
Under President Vladimir Putin “there is no need now for repressions – the people have become obedient”, he said.