Stalin: The First In-depth Biography Based on Explosive New Documents from Russia's Secret Archives

Stalin: The First In-depth Biography Based on Explosive New Documents from Russia's Secret Archives

Language: English

Pages: 624

ISBN: 0385479549

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


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.

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Agents of the secret police now took charge of the household. Nikolai Vlasik, who commanded his bodyguard, now supervised the upbringing of Stalin’s children. Vlasik had emerged from the depths of rural Russia to serve in the ranks of the Cheka, and from there had been seconded to Stalin’s bodyguard on Menzhinsky’s recommendation. Vlasik was assisted in his task of supervising the children by S. Yefimov, an NKVD officer and commandant of the dacha at Zubalovo, where Vasya and Svetlana spent the

Trotsky. This was as good as anything he had written so far. It was not difficult to find proof of espionage, since the army had previously had close connections with the Reichswehr. To arrest a few senior commanders and force them to supply the necessary testimony was a mere “technicality.” So while little Bukharin was in jail the Boss’s thriller provided him with new comrades-in-arms—the military chiefs, German spies, and minions of Trotsky. Extermination of the former commanders had, of

away that for the sake of peace (social peace) (1) I am not going to retract any of the things to which I have signed (2) I do not intend to ask you for anything, to beg you for anything that might throw the whole affair off the rails along which it is rolling. I write only for your personal information. I cannot leave this life without writing these last lines to you, because I am a prey to torments of which you should know. I give you my word of honor that I am innocent of the crimes which I

books, and even visits from women. Bringing these intellectuals together created a favorable work situation and made it easier to keep them under observation. Most important of all, isolation ensured maximum secrecy. This was very important for military reasons. Determined as he was to realize the Great Dream, he wanted the country’s best minds to be working day and night, with no distractions, and under strict control, on its military needs. This was why he had invented the sharashki, scientific

stare of a man in second childhood, Lenin could serve as a model only for an illustration of his own illness,” Annenkov noted. But Stalin wanted documentary proof that in the last phase of his life Lenin had been imbecile, so that his last jottings might look like a product of feeble-mindedness. Krupskaya, however, vetoed the portrait. On May 6, 1923, she wrote to Inessa Armand, the daughter of Lenin’s mistress (also Inessa), who had died in 1920. “You reproach me for not writing to you, but you

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