Georgia marks the anniversary of Stalin's death

(REUTERS) - Sixty-two years after the death of one of Europe's most notorious dictators, there were still some who remembered Joseph Stalin on Thursday in his hometown Gori in central Georgia.

About a dozen people nostalgic for the rule of Stalin, who is widely held responsible for the deaths of millions of innocent people, gathered in front of his former home, which has been turned into a museum.

The procession, bearing portraits of the Soviet leader, proceeded through the town's streets to an Orthodox church.

Six decades on, Stalin's legacy remains the subject of bitter debate and broad interpretation in Russia, where many still believe he did some good for the country.

Support for Stalin has risen in Russia since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 gutted the social safety net, damaged national pride and left many Russians longing for the perceived order and stability of the Communist era.

As the Soviet Union unraveled in the late 1980s when Mikhail Gorbachev loosened the government's grip and oil money dried up, Russians rode the subways reading revelations about Stalin's crimes in newspapers and journals.

Nowadays, efforts to debunk the criticism and clean up Stalin's image are a fixture of bookshop shelves, and school notebooks decorated with Stalin's photo went on sale last year - something unthinkable a few decades ago.

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