India's Stalin admits to problems visiting Russia

September 14, 2019

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In this file photo taken on December 21, 2017, Indian Dravida Munnettra Kazhagam (DMK) party working President MK Stalin distributes sweets to party supporters at the home of party leader Karunanidhi in Chennai. — AFP
In this file photo taken on December 21, 2017, Indian Dravida Munnettra Kazhagam (DMK) party working President MK Stalin distributes sweets to party supporters at the home of party leader Karunanidhi in Chennai. — AFP

Sharing a name with one of Europe's most brutal dictators isn't a problem in his home country, but Indian politician MK Stalin admitted on Friday it raised eyebrows on a visit to Russia.

“As soon as I landed at a Russian airport, I was asked to mention my name. When I said 'Stalin' many people at the airport started looking at me,” Stalin told the Times of India.

“While checking my passport, officials asked me several questions before I was allowed,” he said of the 1989 trip.

“Many people in Russia didn't like Joseph Stalin.”

MK Stalin's father M Karunanidhi, the socialist former chief minister of Tamil Nadu state, deliberately named his son after the Russian communist leader Joseph Stalin.

India was more closely allied to the Soviet Union in the Cold War, and particularly in southern India names like Stalin, Lenin, Trotsky and even Pravda for women are not unheard of.

The north-eastern state of Meghalaya meanwhile has a politician named Adolf Lu Hitler Marak.