Stalin, a Hero? I don't think so.

I came across this video from Vice recently:

I find it rather shocking that a growing number of Russians view Joseph Stalin as a war hero and illustrious leader.

This past summer, my wife and I traveled through Europe and saw firsthand much of the terrible history of World War II and its aftermath in places like Berlin, Paris, Lithuania, and St. Petersburg. That people could so quickly forget the evil, corruption, and devastation wrought by the Soviets (or Nazis) is unthinkable. And yet it seems to be so.

As mentioned in the video, the fact that some Russians have such a positive view of Stalin is likely due, at least in part, to the fact that his atrocities are not taught in Russian schools - probably because of a concerted effort by the government to "rebrand" Russia as a virtuous country with a strong past and a bright future.

It is just as important to remember our failures - to avoid failing again - as to celebrate our success. That's why Americans are right to reflect on our own mistakes of the past: Indian removal, slavery, civil rights injustices, and other forms of discrimination.

A man who is directly responsible for the death of millions can never be called a hero.

This article was updated on October 8, 2019