Billboards honoring Soviet dictator Josef Stalin have appeared across Russia's third-largest city ahead of Monday's celebration of victory over Nazi Germany in World War II.

The Communist Party branch in Novosibirsk said it put up dozens of the billboards ahead of Victory Day to honor Stalin as commander in chief of the Soviet forces that defeated the Nazis.

A party statement said war veterans were pleased the party "is restoring historical justice."

Scholars estimate that under Stalin more than 1 million people were executed in political purges. Millions more died in the vast prison camp system or as a result of mass starvation and deportations.

But an increasing number of Russians now admire Stalin as a strong leader who led their country to victory and stood up to the West.