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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Kremlin Declassifies 1,200 Stalin Files

The Kremlin has turned over about 1,200 of Josef Stalin's personal files to the State Archive, an official said Saturday.

The declassified files touch on issues of "exceptional ideological and political importance," State Archive Service head Vladimir Kozlov told Ekho Moskvy radio, Interfax reported.

They include Stalin's correspondence with Soviet chief of secret police Nikolai Yezhov, who presided over widespread purges in the late 1930s; Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov; and Lazar Kaganovich, a government minister and member of Stalin's inner circle who also conducted purges.

Other parts of Stalin's archive containing defense and intelligence secrets remain classified in accordance with the law, Kozlov said.

The State Archive has received about 20,000 files from Soviet Communist Party and government archives since 1996, he said.

Russian officials have said they believe more than 20 million people were victims of Stalin-era purges before the dictator's death in 1953.

More than 10 million are said to have died.