In 2007, Mr. Putin visited Butovo, the prison where Stalin executed thousands of innocents during the purges of the late 1930s, and vowed that the tragedy would never be forgotten. In 2010, then-President Dmitry Medvedev admitted that Stalin was responsible for the 1940 Katyn massacre of 22,000 Poles by Soviet agents and broadly condemned the dictator’s crimes.
They didn't want to fight Hitler, but they did fight the Poles, the Finns, the Kulaks, and anyone else who got in Stalin's way during his alliance with the Nazis. Stalin was fine with Adolph, until he turned on him in June 1941;
But Russian officials have offered endorsements of Stalin’s leadership too. Last autumn, at a meeting with Russian educators, Mr. Putin put a positive spin on Stalin’s decision to sign a nonaggression pact with the Nazis in 1939, suggesting that the treaty gave the Soviet Union time to modernize its army and prepare for war—an explanation disputed by historians. “What’s so wrong if the Soviet Union didn’t want to fight?” Mr. Putin said.
Stalin built and moved into the residence after his second wife committed suicide in 1932 and made the home his main living quarters from 1933 until his death, often hosting other world leaders there. The presents that Mao brought for Stalin, including a portrait of two gazing cats, still adorn the walls.
Stalin retreated to the dacha in a kind of panic not long after Hitler invaded the Soviet Union in 1941. Politburo members came to fetch Stalin days later; according to the Soviet official Anastas Mikoyan, Stalin thought they had come to arrest him.Talk about a counterfactual.