Vladimir Putin: Soviet leader Joseph Stalin was no worse than Oliver Cromwell
Stalin has been blamed for the deaths of millions of people while Cromwell slaughtered thousands in Ireland and allegedly sent Irish Catholics into slavery in the West Indies.
But the scale of the carnage did not seem to matter to the Russian leader.
“What’s the real difference between Cromwell and Stalin? None whatsoever,” Mr Putin said on Thursday, according to news service RIA Novosti.
Mr Putin made the comments at a press conference after he was asked about a monument to Stalin being put up in Moscow.
The city said recently that it planned to commemorate all Soviet leaders who had lived there.
The president said that Stalin was just as deserving of a statue in his honour as that “cunning fellow” Cromwell who “played a very ambiguous role in Britain’s history”.
However Mr Putin also added a note of caution.
“We must treat all periods of our history with care. It’s better not to stir things up… with premature actions,” he said.
A statue to Cromwell was put up outside the House of Commons in 1899, although it has occasionally attracted controversy due to his actions in Ireland and his opposition to the monarchy.