“What’s the real difference between Cromwell and Stalin? None whatsoever,” Mr Putin said on Thursday after he was asked about a monument to Stalin being put up in Moscow.
Stalin was one of the most brutal and murderous dictators in history. He was responsible for the deaths of millions of people and the suffering of many more whilst leader of the Soviet Union. As many as 20 million people are estimated to have died as a direct result of his policies: that’s on top of the 20 million Soviet troops and civilians who died in the second world war.
Oliver Cromwell is a divisive figure mainly due to his Irish campaign, in which his troops massacred hundreds of thousands of Catholic soldiers and civilians. As part of this brutal campaign, men, women and children were deported to the West Indies and sold into slavery. However historians debate over whether Cromwell ordered such atrocities. He was back in England when many of the Irish Catholics were deported and some historians argue that the slaughter of civilians occurred under the command of other generals and not at Cromwell’s behest.
There is no argument that the scale of the carnage differs completely. “One death is a tragedy; one million is a statistic” is one of Stalin’s most famous quotes. Can you tell who said what?