Europe

Dozens of billboards honoring Stalin put up in Russian city

  • People walk past the poster with WWII Soviet dictator Josef Stalin which was sponsored by local branch of the Communist Party celebrating  Victory Day in Novosibirsk, Russia, Thursday, May 5, 2016, about 2800 kms (1,750 miles) east of Moscow. Russia celebrates victory in WWII on May 9. (AP Photo/Ilnar Salakhiev)

    People walk past the poster with WWII Soviet dictator Josef Stalin which was sponsored by local branch of the Communist Party celebrating Victory Day in Novosibirsk, Russia, Thursday, May 5, 2016, about 2800 kms (1,750 miles) east of Moscow. Russia celebrates victory in WWII on May 9. (AP Photo/Ilnar Salakhiev)  (The Associated Press)

  • Russian Air Force aerobatic teams "Strizhi" (Swifts) on MiG-29 and "Russian Knights" on Su-27 fly over Moscow's Kremlin during a general rehearsal for the Victory Day military parade which will take place at Moscow's Red Square on May 9 to celebrate 71 years after the victory in WWII in Moscow, Russia, on Thursday, May 5, 2016. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)

    Russian Air Force aerobatic teams "Strizhi" (Swifts) on MiG-29 and "Russian Knights" on Su-27 fly over Moscow's Kremlin during a general rehearsal for the Victory Day military parade which will take place at Moscow's Red Square on May 9 to celebrate 71 years after the victory in WWII in Moscow, Russia, on Thursday, May 5, 2016. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)  (The Associated Press)

  • Russian military helicopters fly over Ivan the Great bell-tower and Moscow's Kremlin during a general rehearsal for the Victory Day military parade which will take place at Moscow's Red Square on May 9 to celebrate 71 years after the victory in WWII in Moscow, Russia, on Thursday, May 5, 2016. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)

    Russian military helicopters fly over Ivan the Great bell-tower and Moscow's Kremlin during a general rehearsal for the Victory Day military parade which will take place at Moscow's Red Square on May 9 to celebrate 71 years after the victory in WWII in Moscow, Russia, on Thursday, May 5, 2016. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)  (The Associated Press)

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.