The Kremlin in the Putin era has often sought to maintain as much sway over the portrayal of history as over the governing of the country. In seeking to restore Russiaâ€™s standing, Mr. Putin and other officials have stoked a nationalism that glorifies Soviet triumphs while playing down or even whitewashing the systemâ€™s horrors.
As a result, across Russia, many archives detailing killings, persecution and other such acts committed by the Soviet authorities have become increasingly off limits.
Bonus link (added 29th): the whitewashing of Stalin in the West and a nice quote by a reader of this BBC article:
I cannot help to think that the fact that Stalin was mostly bad to his own people and that his policies actually weakened his own country had something to do with the fact he is mildly looked upon in the West (compare this to Hitler who brought destruction to everyone else’s doorstep). No doubt that if Hitler was an ally of Britain and had restricted his genocide to within Germany, his crimes would have been swept under the carpet by the British press for the benefit of the greater good.