>> Yuri Dmitriev has given his life to documenting Joseph Stalin's great terror. Now he's on trial for child pornography, but his critics say it's a show trial worthy of Stalin's time. Dmitriev's real crime, they say, locating and exhuming mass graves. Some 700,000 people were executed in the late 30s during the terror, and that's a conservative figure.
But there's little appetite today for criticizing Stalin, Reuters Andrew Osbourne says. Historian say his popularity 65 years after his death is soaring again.>> In particular they point to an opinion poll in June, which named him as the country's most outstanding historical figure. They also say that various monuments to him are springing up in different parts of Russia and that school textbooks have changed.
They have softened Stalin's image in these books, emphasizing his wartime achievements over his crimes.>> Under Vladimir Putin, the Kremlin's line is that Russia shouldn't be ashamed of its past. Memorial, a rights groups Dmitriev works for, recently released a list naming Stalin era secret policemen, Dmitriev was arrested soon afterwards.
Moscow says there is no link between his work and the criminal investigation. His supporters though deny that photographs of his 11-year-old daughter at the center of the case, were pornographic.>> We are not in a position to be able to independently confirm that the reason he's being prosecuted is linked to his work.
But what this story does show is that a battle to define Russia's history really is being played out here. All these years after his death, Stalin remains a very divisive figure.>> Historians and rights activists say Dmitriev's case isn't a one off, and that history is repeating itself.
He faces up to 15 years in jail.