Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar

Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar

Simon Sebag Montefiore

Language: English

Pages: 848

ISBN: 1400076781

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

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.

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Young Stalin














Postyshev contained a warning for Yezhov whose arrests were increasingly frenzied. Meanwhile Stalin seemed undecided about Postyshev:130 his high-handedness attracted enemies who perhaps persuaded Stalin to destroy him. His last hope was a personal appeal to Stalin, probably written after a confrontation with his accusers: “Comrade Stalin, I ask you to receive me after the meeting.” “I cannot receive you today,” Stalin wrote back. “Talk to Comrade Molotov.” Within days, he had been arrested.6

office, as he went on executing any prisoners who “may turn against us.” On 29 September, he lost much of his power when Beria was appointed to run the heart of the NKVD: State Security (GUGB). He now co-signed Yezhov’s orders. Blackberry tried to strike back: he proposed to Stalin that Stanislas Redens, Beria’s enemy married to Anna Alliluyeva, become his other deputy. There was no hope of this. Yezhov sat boozing at his dacha with his depressed cronies, warning that they would soon be

months, Mekhlis will chuck him out. Mekhlis wants to be Defence Commissar himself.” Mekhlis enjoyed Stalin’s “unbounded confidence.” Kulik, the buffoonish artillery chief, who encouraged his subordinates by shrieking “Prison or medal,” was an ignorant Blimp. He despised anti-tank artillery: “What rubbish—no rumble, no shell holes . . .” He denounced the invaluable new Katyusha rockets: “What the hell do we need rocket artillery for? The main thing is the horse-drawn gun.” He delayed the

her dubious connections had destroyed her. He soon married again.6 Meanwhile Stalin and his magnates debated the fate of the Polish officers, arrested or captured in September 1939 and held in three camps, one of which was close to Katyn Forest. When Stalin was undecided about an issue, there was surprisingly frank discussion. Kulik, commander of the Polish front, proposed freeing all the Poles. Voroshilov agreed but Mekhlis was adamant there were Enemies among them. Stalin stopped the release

always gets what she wants!” However, she could also be very kind. When Yakov’s heroism in German captivity had been proven, his widow Julia was released but found that her seven-year-old daughter, Gulia, hardly knew her. Svetlana agreed to look after Gulia and one day she announced, “Today we’re going to meet Mama.” But the child was afraid of the stranger, so daily, with the most touching sensitivity, Svetlana took her to see her mother until gradually the two bonded. This had to be done

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