Early last decade I read a biography of Stalin. At that time my personal reviews were much shorter. I wrote:
32. - 122.) Stalin by Edvard Radzinsky – An excellent biography which penetrates the most ruthless man in the history of the world. From his humble origins in
to unquestioned authority
as the new “tsar” the book clearly explains his actions and motivations. As he
rose he carefully watched the actions of other leaders. “Bit by bit, we learn”
was the chilling quote that explained how Stalin developed the principle that
any action was permitted as he pursued the “Great Dream” of socialist world
domination. No man has brought about the deaths of more people. Compassion was
foreign to Stalin. (Oct. 21/02) Georgia
He was also a poet and a writer.
The dacha was a vivid historic experience. It is a deep green. The guide said Stalin was worried about it being easily visible from the air and vulnerable to being bombed.
It is set in a lovely location amid the pines above Sochi and looks out over the Black Sea.
Our guide said you could book his bedroom as the dacha is part of a hotel. I am not sure that room is available but I read online that there are 18 rooms you can book to stay in overnight for about $450.00 per night with meals included in the room rate. I think there are too many ghosts haunting the dacha for me to want to stay there.
In the restored or preserved rooms there is fine woodwork. The keyhole to his private chambers is covered on both sides so no one could take a peek.
There is a room with a full size snooker table. Because of his withered left hand a special extra weighted cue was made for Stalin. It was passed around for us to balance with a regular cue. It was much heavier.
There is a small but deep indoor oval pool beside his bedroom.
Most interesting was the area where his desk is located. It is startling to walk into the room and encounter a life size wax statute of him sitting behind the desk. (He was 5' 4".) A slight chill went through me as I contemplated him sitting at this desk at night going through the lists prepared for him and checking off who lived and died.
We were allowed to have a photo taken beside Stalin. Sharon took the above photo of myself and Stalin. I felt very much a part of history.
Others made funny gestures for their photos. Considering who Stalin was and what he did those gestures felt disrespectful to the millions of his victims.