Sunday, January 4, 2009

Medieval prince overtakes Stalin as greatest Russian

The medieval prince Alexander Nevsky has been named the Greatest Russian of all times in a nationwide poll, leaving behind early 20th century reformer Pyotr Stolipin and Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin.

Prince Nevsky, canonised by the Orthodox Church as saint in 1574, had a winning score of 524,575 votes, overtaking the early 20th century reformer Imperial Premier Pyotr Stolipin with 523,766 nominations trailed by Stalin with 519,071 votes.

The voters had more than six months to choose from among 500 names before the winner was announced last night.

The voting in the poll was suspended in August after Stalin clearly had a majority of the ballots cast the previous month.

The organisers 'zeroed' in the vote, claiming that spammers had attacked the site in order to give Stalin the victory.

This time viewers had a choice of voting method. They could use the phone, text message or the internet. Technically, however, each voter was not limited to one vote casting doubt on the fairness of the poll, conducted for the first time in the history of the country.

The organiser of the Greatest Ever Russian contest, Alexander Lyubimov, said Nevsky's victory in the poll "demonstrates that Russians are dedicated to their ancient history, starting 1,000 years ago."

A Russian prince from Novgorod, Alexander got the nickname "Nevsky" after his victory over an army of Swedes in a battle near the Neva river (in present day St Petersburg) in 1240.

One of the arguments for voting Nevsky was that he took the help of the Golden Horde to fight the West making Russia's choice for a Eurasian identity for the ages to come.

Organiser Alexander Lyubimov said there was awareness in modern Russia that the nation's ancestors "created a multi-ethnic community within the Russian State."

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