Stalin’s birthday marked

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iol news pic Stalin Birthday REUTERS Villagers attend an unveiling ceremony of a newly reinstated monument of Soviet dictator Josef Stalin on his birthday anniversary in the village of Zemo Alvani, some 200 km (124 miles) northeast of Tbilisi, December 21, 2012. Residents of a mountainous village in the former Soviet republic of Georgia reinstated a monument to dictator Josef Stalin on Friday to mark the 133rd birthday anniversary of their famous compatriot. The statue was removed a year ago by local authorities after President Mikheil Saakashvili said the late dictator was too closely associated with what he called the "Soviet occupation of Georgia" and called for memorials to Stalin to be dismantled. REUTERS/David Mdzinarishvili

Tbilisi, Georgia - People across the vast territory where Josef Stalin once imposed his terror have marked the 133th anniversary of the dictator's birth, some in hatred but others in reverence.

In Moscow, several hundred Russian Communists laid flowers at Stalin's grave at the Red Square Friday, while smaller rallies were held across Russia and several former Soviet republics.

There were smaller gestures in Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, where Stalin was born in 1879. There the 83-year-old owner of a small museum on Stalin kissed a bust of the dictator on its lips, vowing to expand his collection.

Meanwhile, ethnic Crimean Tatars in the southern Ukrainian city of Simferopol demolished a small street exhibition on Stalin, remembering deportations of their people that he ordered during World War II. - Sapa-AP


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