After 2.4 million votes cast, the survey of history's "greatest Russian" is coming down to the wire. Top three contenders? Tsar Nicholas II, Stalin, and Lenin, of course. The (London) Times has details:
The Soviet tyrant and Second World War leader is battling Tsar Nicholas II for first place in The Name of Russia, a domestic version of the BBC series Great Britons. Stalin had been well ahead in the online vote until the show's producer appealed to members of a popular Russian social networking site to back Nicholas II.
The Tsar edged in front tonight as communists and monarchists whipped up support for their candidates. Stalin has received almost 263,000 votes so far, against more than 267,000 for Nicholas II.
Lenin, the Tsar's nemesis, was third with nearly 187,000 votes. The top dozen included Peter the Great, Pushkin, Catherine the Great, Yuri Gagarin, Boris Yeltsin and Ivan the Terrible.
Leader of the Communist Party in St. Petersburg, Sergei Malinkovich, was excited about a potential victory for party hero 'Koba' Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili:
"If he wins, we will ask the Russian Orthodox Church to consider canonising Stalin. Lenin was a Communist for the Church, but Stalin was a real national leader. For us, he is like Napoleon is to the French."