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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Dictator or Pop Star?

KIEV () -- Who was Josef Stalin? An iron-fisted Soviet leader and one of history's most sinister figures -- or a pop star?

In a recent poll of Ukrainian schoolchildren, only half identified Stalin as the man who led the Soviet Union for three decades, pollsters said Tuesday.

Ukraine's Rukh party -- the leading force in the push for independence from the Soviet Union -- conducted a poll of 200 schoolchildren aged 9 to 14 in the city of Khmelnitsky in western Ukraine.

About half answered correctly. Thirty-one said he was an executioner; 13 said they'd never heard of him. Dozens responded with other professions.

And 11 said he was a pop star.

"The results were completely unexpected. It was not so many years ago that we found out about all this man's crimes,'' said Ihor Klyuv, head of the regional Rukh office.