The hot new bestselling product in Moscow's stationers is a notebook emblazoned with a completely non-ironic portrait of Josef Stalin, looming large in his uniform and bristling medals.
In his generalissimo uniform with a chest full of medals, Stalin now proudly stares from notebook covers on a shelf of the Pedagogical Book House store in downtown Moscow less than a mile from the Kremlin. Customers, mostly adults, are snatching up so many copies that the store runs out of stock each day.
"This edition of notebooks comes in the series of great personalities in the history of Russia like Peter the Great, [composer Sergei] Rachmaninoff, space designer [Sergei] Korolyov and many others," said Olga Utesheva, deputy commercial director of the Moscow Book House, a chain of popular bookstores that runs the pedagogical books retailer too. "Stalin is one of the most popular figures among the people who left a trace in the history of our country and there is no propaganda here."
(Image: downsized, cropped thumbnail from a photo by Sergei L. Loiko, Los Angeles Times / April 6, 2012)