Tomorrow marks the final day of victory 70 years ago in the Battle of Stalingrad.
After more than six months of ferocious fighting the Soviet Red Army had defeated the Axis forces led by nazi Germany and retaken the nine-tenths of the city that been under fascist occupation.
After nearly two million military and civilian deaths, the German Sixth Army was finally subjugated and the world war swung decisively against Hitler's mass murder machine. There would be no more fascist victories on the eastern front and the drive to Berlin was under way.
In 1961 the Khruschov government renamed the city Volgograd as part of its drive to erase the name of Stalin from Soviet history in the light of his role in the purges of the late 1930s and subsequent crimes.
However it is right that regional authorities in one of Russia's "hero cities" are reverting to the use of Stalingrad on this and related historic occasions.
Tsaritsyn on the Volga river was renamed Stalingrad in 1925 in recognition of the Soviet leader's role in defending the city against White counter-revolutionaries in the civil war from 1918. Obviously Stalin didn't defend it alone. As ever, there is always the danger that the achievements of prominent individuals will overshadow the essential contribution of ordinary people.
Yet, ironically, it is the common people of Russia, past and present, for whom the name Stalingrad is synonymous with the heroic sacrifices of the masses through the desperate winter of 1942-3.
That may upset the liberal Just Russia Party and its kindred spirits in Britain, but, as Walter Ralston wrote in the New Masses magazine in 1935, "facts is facts."
Stalingrad will for many Russians forever symbolise the spirit of freedom and the fight against tyranny. Many among the older generations throughout Europe and beyond see the city, its name and its people in the same light.
Yet there is still more to remember on this day of remembrance and celebration.
The world must never forget that 27 million Soviet citizens died in the struggle to rid the world of the nazis, the most bestial regime in history.
During the cold war strenuous efforts were made to cover up or downplay this fact. Two generations of children were reared on a diet of books, films and comics that gave the impression that World War II was won by Hollywood film stars in the Pacific.
Equally insulting to the memory of those millions who died resisting the nazis has been the campaign, which continues to this day, to depict the Soviet Union as just as monstrous by grossly exaggerating the undoubtedly horrific scale of Stalin's purges and denying the enormous economic, social and cultural advances made as a result of the socialist system.
Industrialisation of the Soviet Union through economic planning and public ownership laid the basis for those historic Red Army victories in 1943. As Britain's own ruthless war leader Winston Churchill put it, the Soviet armed forces "tore the guts out" of Hitler's war machine.
Four-fifths of WWII was fought on Europe's eastern front. The Soviet regular forces and many thousands of partisans defeated not only German but also Romanian, Bulgarian, Hungarian and Italian armies as well.
Today, as the monsters of fascism and racism, including anti-semitism, again rear their ugly heads, let us not only remember the past but also renew our efforts to rid the world of these scourges altogether.
And let us also remember that monopoly capitalism gave birth to Hitler and fascism, just as monopoly capitalism in crisis created the conditions in which the fascists could breed.
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