Stalin: The First In-depth Biography Based on Explosive New Documents from Russia's Secret Archives
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From the author of The Last Tsar, the first full-scale life of Stalin to have what no previous biography has entirely gotten hold of: the facts. Granted privileged access to Russia's secret archives, Edvard Radzinsky paints a picture of the Soviet strongman as more calculating, ruthless, and blood-crazed than has ever been described or imagined. Stalin was a man for whom power was all, terror a useful weapon, and deceit a constant companion.
As Radzinsky narrates the high drama of Stalin's epic quest for domination-first within the Communist Party, then over the Soviet Union and the world-he uncovers the startling truth about this most enigmatic of historical figures. Only now, in the post-Soviet era, can what was suppressed be told: Stalin's long-denied involvement with terrorism as a young revolutionary; the crucial importance of his misunderstood, behind-the-scenes role during the October Revolution; his often hostile relationship with Lenin; the details of his organization of terror, culminating in the infamous show trials of the 1930s; his secret dealings with Hitler, and how they backfired; and the horrifying plans he was making before his death to send the Soviet Union's Jews to concentration camps-tantamount to a potential second Holocaust. Radzinsky also takes an intimate look at Stalin's private life, marked by his turbulent relationship with his wife Nadezhda, and recreates the circumstances that led to her suicide.
As he did in The Last Tsar, Radzinsky thrillingly brings the past to life. The Kremlin intrigues, the ceaseless round of double-dealing and back-stabbing, the private worlds of the Soviet Empire's ruling class-all become, in Radzinsky's hands, as gripping and powerful as the great Russian sagas. And the riddle of that most cold-blooded of leaders, a man for whom nothing was sacred in his pursuit of absolute might--and perhaps the greatest mass murderer in Western history--is solved.
boyars helped swell the dossiers. Jan Rudzutak, for instance, a candidate member of the Politburo, had raped the fifteen-year-old daughter of a Moscow Party official, and when in Paris had lavished money belonging to the state on prostitutes. Then there were the escapades of A. Enukidze, secretary of the Central Executive Committee, and of Karakhan, one of the senior officials in the People’s Commissariat for Foreign Affairs, among the ballerinas. This bawdy reading matter was sent regularly to
installed, as befit the mother of a tsar, in the former palace of the Viceroys of Georgia. Grand dukes had once resided there. With all the palace to choose from, his mother had chosen one miserable little room away from the main building, a room quite like the hovel in which they had once lived. He had provided for Keke generously. Two female hangers-on in black caps waited on her. She lived on a pension, and a special doctor kept an eye on her health: Lavrenti Beria, Party leader in the
unfortunately for him, had become their friend. Pauker, tightly corseted and with the Order of Lenin on his chest, still rode around in his Lincoln, a present from the Boss, but his fate had been decided. He vanished into the darkness quietly and without a trace, following his friends, the mighty Chekists of Dzherzhinsky’s day. The Boss forgot no one, even the legendary organizers of the original Red Terror who had retired from the Cheka: Peters, Latsis, and the famous Latvian riflemen, Lenin’s
that moment of retreat and panic, it was wishful thinking. But it would become reality in the near future. The day of madness continued. Desperate news arrived from the front. Chadayev writes: Timoshenko reported that the attack had exceeded all expectations. In the first hours of war enemy planes had made mass attacks on airfields and troops. Stalin: “I expect many Soviet planes were destroyed right there on the ground?” He worked himself up into an indescribable state of indignation, pacing
the meeting was over, I left the office and saw through the window Stalin, Molotov, and Beria getting into a car. Poskrebyshev hesitated for a moment and then said, “The Germans have obviously taken Minsk.” Shortly afterward the government telephone rang, and Poskrebyshev told me that the call was from Vlasik, chief of Stalin’s bodyguard, to say that “the Boss,” and also Malenkov, Molotov, and Beria, were at the People’s Commissariat for Defense. Vatutin told me later that their arrival at the