This weekend is the celebration of Germany's surrender in World War II. It's a big holiday in Russia. The Nazis reached the outskirts of Moscow, so beating them back and eventually overpowering them was a big deal. A lot of people died in the process.
So it's quite a time for the Russian president to repudiate Stalin and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the victors in the Great Patriotic War.
To some extent, repudiation of Stalin is not new. In 1956, Khrushchev spoke of Stalin's crimes to a Communist Party Congress. But there has recently been some nostalgia in Russia for the old days, expressed as admiration for Stalin. Medvedev's repudiation includes the Soviet Union as well, as "a regime where elementary rights and freedoms were suppressed."
And, for the first time, active-duty American army troops, the 170th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, will march in Moscow's Victory Day parade. The Soviet Union used to show off their missiles in those parades.