Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said on Friday that there can be no justification for the Soviet government's crimes against its own people, lamenting millions of deaths and "maimed destinies" in some of the strongest criticism of the Communist era to come from the Kremlin since Vladimir Putin came to power a decade ago.
In a blog-posted video marking a day set aside in 1991 to commemorate victims of Soviet political repression, Medvedev suggested that young Russians are getting a lopsided picture of their country's past - learning plenty about its proud moments but little about the bloodbath that reached its peak under Josef Stalin in the Great Terror of the late 1930s.
"Let's just think about: Millions of people died as a result of terror and false accusations - millions," a somber-faced Medvedev said. "They were deprived of all rights, even the right to a decent human burial, and for long years their names were simply crossed out of history.
"And yet today it is still possible to hear that these many victims were justified by some higher state goal," he said.
A main goal of the remarks may have been to set Medvedev apart from Putin, a longtime KGB officer who has mixed Soviet-era and czarist imagery to encourage national pride and bolster his own popularity.
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