Television viewers have voted Soviet dictator Josef Stalin _ who sent millions to their deaths in the Great Purge of the 1930s _ Russia's third-greatest historical figure.
Rights activists have blasted Stalin's inclusion in the 90-day, nationwide project by the state-run Rossiya channel. They say authorities are trying to gloss over Stalin's atrocities and glorify his tyranny.
The project, called "The Name of Russia," culminated with the announcement Sunday night that Russian medieval leader Alexander Nevsky had been voted the greatest Russian, with more than 524,000 Internet and SMS votes. Stalin garnered more than 519,000 votes, and even led in early voting.
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