At least four employees were wounded after a man with a knife attacked the office of the regional Russian Communist Party’s newspaper in the southern city of Stavropol, after his article on Joseph Stalin was refused.
The man arrived at the office of the local Russian Communist Party’s committee, which shared space with the party’s Rodina newspaper, the witnesses said. He then asked to see the editor in-chief, and demanded publication of a Stalin article which he had brought with him.
“As was he being told that the [editorial] board would look at it and make a decision, he took out a hunting knife and attacked the editor-in-chief,” regional lawmaker Viktor Lozovoy, who witnessed the attack, told media.
After stabbing the editor-in-chief in the face, the man attacked three members of the local Communist Party committee, who rushed to help, and injured them. However, they managed to grab the attacker and detained him until police arrived. The 73-year-old man, who has a history of mental illness and was recently reported missing by his family, was detained.
The newspaper’s employees said that the attacker had visited the editorial office a few times to get his articles published, but was unsuccessful. The attacker later told police that he planned to kill the editor-in-chief “for Stalin” and to “spark public outcry.”
Decades after his death in 1953, Stalin remains highly-divisive figure in Russian society, with recent polls showing a rise in popularity of the Soviet leader. Political analysts explain this phenomenon as society’s attitude to the mythical image of the Soviet leader – a symbol of order and a champion of the oppressed – rather than the actual historical figure of Stalin.
Rodina newspaper has been published since 1994 by the Stavropol Communist Party Committee, which carefully preserves Soviet traditions and symbols.