Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar
Simon Sebag Montefiore
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This widely acclaimed biography of Stalin and his entourage during the terrifying decades of his supreme power transforms our understanding of Stalin as Soviet dictator, Marxist leader, and Russian tsar.
Based on groundbreaking research, Simon Sebag Montefiore reveals the fear and betrayal, privilege and debauchery, family life and murderous cruelty of this secret world. Written with bracing narrative verve, this feat of scholarly research has become a classic of modern history writing. Showing how Stalin's triumphs and crimes were the product of his fanatical Marxism and his gifted but flawed character, this is an intimate portrait of a man as complicated and human as he was brutal and chilling.
door where they nervously discussed their plight. Rokossovsky thought Beria was inciting Stalin. Things could end badly: “I know very well what Beria is capable of,” whispered Rokossovsky, ultra-cautious as the son of a Polish officer. “I’ve been in his prisons.” Twenty minutes later, Malenkov appeared and claimed he was supporting the generals. There would be no rescue of Warsaw. Zhukov suspected the Supremo had set up this charade as an alibi. But Soviet forces were exhausted: as Rokossovsky
machine guns. Let’s liquidate the diplomats.” Leading his guests out for coffee and movies, Stalin “kept hugging the French and lurching around,” noticed Khrushchev who was also present but had avoided a threatening toast. He was “completely drunk.” While the diplomats negotiated, Stalin drank more champagne. Finally in the early hours, when de Gaulle had gone to bed, the Russians suddenly agreed to sign the treaty without recognition of Bierut. De Gaulle was rushed back into the Kremlin where
emblazoned with an unprepossessing portrait of Stalin with a very long nose. The box is opened by pressing the nose. 68 When Stalin read Andrei Platonov’s satire on the “Higher Command” of collectivization, For Future Use, he supposedly wrote “Bastard!” on the manuscript and told Fadeev, “Give him a belt ‘for future use.’ ” Platonov was never arrested but died, in great deprivation, of TB. 69 There was one other returned émigré whom Stalin personally favoured. Ilya Ehrenburg, a Muscovite and
A. Kuznetsov 4 Oct. 1941. Andrei Alexandrovich: 900 Days, p. 542. Yes or no! RGASPI 558.11.492.63, Stalin, Molotov to Zhdanov, Kuznetsov 18 Oct. 1941. Say it straight: RGASPI 558.11.492.66, Stalin to Zhdanov on telephone, 8 Nov. 1941. Voroshilov: Volkogonov, in Stalin’s Generals, p. 317. Kuznetsov in Kumanev (ed.), p. 294. Malenkov vs. Zhdanov: Sukhanov, Memoirs, Library of Congress, Volkogonov Collection, Reel 8. 900 Days, pp. 260–1. Beria vs. Zhdanov in Raanan, pp. 171–2; Beria, p. 263. Yury
it’s Zina. Tell him to come to the phone right away. I’ll wait on the line.” “Why the big hurry?” Stalin asked. Zina ordered him to come urgently: “Sergo’s done the same as Nadya!” Stalin banged down the phone at this grievous insult. It happened that Konstantin Ordzhonikidze, one of Sergo’s brothers, arrived at the apartment at this moment. At the entrance, Sergo’s chauffeur told him to hurry. When he reached the front door, one of Sergo’s officials said simply: “Our Sergo’s no more.” Within