- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 27, 2000

MOSCOW (AP) Russians made Communist leader Vladimir Lenin their top choice as the nation's "man of the century," followed by dictator Josef Stalin, the Interfax news agency reported yesterday.
The poll asked 1,500 persons across Russia to name a choice without offering any suggestions.
After the Soviet leaders, human rights advocate and Nobel Prize winner Andrei Sakharov came in third, Interfax said. The first man in space, Yuri Gagarin, took fourth place, and Soviet reformer Mikhail Gorbachev was fifth, followed by actors and politicians from Russia's past.
Lenin won the most support, with 14 percent of respondents calling him the most important man of the 20th century, showing that many older Russians still revere him. Lenin's lasting popularity among the older generation also has been explained by years of Soviet propaganda, which lionized him.
Stalin received support from 9 percent of respondents despite a consensus among most Russians that he was a cruel dictator responsible for the deaths of millions in arbitrary executions and forced labor camps. Stalin is still respected by a small group of Russians who see him as a paragon of law and order.
Mr. Sakharov, a renowned nuclear physicist who drew attention to the cruelty of the Soviet system and became a symbol of his country's quest to shake off the legacy of communism, received support from 8 percent of respondents.
The Public Opinion Foundation polling agency conducted the survey Dec. 16. Many Russians consider 2001 to be the beginning of the new century, and pollsters apparently had that in mind when they conducted the survey.
In the United States, Time magazine named its "man of the century" last year. It selected Albert Einstein, identifying him as the pre-eminent scientist in a century dominated by science.

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