Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin was voted Russia's third most popular historical figure in a nationwide poll that ended this weekend. Stalin's notable superlative comes despite the famine and purges (which included sending people to labor camps and millions of deaths) that marked his dictatorship.
The "Name of Russia" contest was run by the Rossiya state television channel for about six months and closed Sunday night with a final vote from the Internet or cell phones. It drew more than 50 million votes out of the nation's 143 million citizens.
Stalin was General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union's Central Committee from 1922 until his death in 1953. Millions of Soviets died from famine during forced collectivization, were executed as "enemies of the people" or died in hard labor camps during his rule.