Joseph Stalin the great Russian leader who had led his country for 30 years breathed his last at 9:50 p.m. on March 5, 1953. He was 73 years old and his death made thousands of people to line up in the snow to catch a glimpse of their great leader’s body. He has been termed as dictator by many over the decades. Though government sources claim that Stalin died of brain haemorrhage but there many who do not buy this cause of death. There were plenty of unusual incidences in his last days that force people to cast a doubt over the nature of his. Did he die of natural causes of brain haemorrhage or was he killed? Let us try to find the answers to these questions.
On 28 February night Stalin followed his usual routine. He sat with his close political friends Nikita Khrushchev, Nikita Beria, Nikolai Bulganin and Georgi Malenkov. They watched a movie in Kremlin and then went to Stalin’s country house which was 10 minutes outside Moscow for feasting. On March 1 early morning all the guests returned back to their houses in Moscow. But then a very out of the ordinary incident took place. Stalin was generally very cautious about his security. But he gave order to all the guards that they should go to bed at night and no one should disturb him at night.
It was the revelation of one of the guards that night, Pyotr Lozgachev that raises further doubts. He confirmed that the order for the guards to retire was not given by Stalin rather it was given by his main guard Khrustalev. He recalls that Stalin used to taunt the guards over going to sleep at night and often looked into their eyes as if saying dare do so. So when such an order to sleep at night came no guard raised any doubts. All the guards and Stalin himself slept late that day. Till 6 in the evening there was no movement in Stalin’s room. But no one dared to disturb the great leader. So they waited and finally and half past six a light glowed inside the room and the guards were assured. But Stalin did not come out or no notable movements were seen inside the room. So at 10 p.m. Lozgachev was sent in to check Stalin’s health. He found Stalin lying, he had even wet himself and was making a strange noise. A copy of Pravda and his pocket-watch was lying on the floor. The time showing on the pocket-watch was 6:30 so may be something happened to him during that time.
All the guards rushed to inform his drinking partners. But they had a very casual reaction to such grave news. They even spent a fair amount of time before calling for medical help. Many scholars feel that such a reaction makes it clear that they knew there was no need to hurry for Stalin’s rescue. Edvard Radzinski, a Stalin scholar feels that Stalin was poisoned to death. The poison was served to him by the main guard Khrustalev who had got such orders from the KGB chief Levrenty Beria. But why was he killed?
Everyone surrounding Stalin was wary of his decision to go into World War III. Everyone except Stalin knew that Soviet Union was financially poor. All that USSR had was nuclear weapons but the other natural resources were scant. But Stalin was relentless and wanted to wage a final war against the Americans for supremacy. There was widespread dissent among his political associates and the general public. Stalin had also planned an Anti-Semitic campaign which was known only to Beria. He alone knew that the deportation of Jews was planned on March 5. There were special barns built in Kazakhstan to provide shelter to the Jews. This did not go well with Beri and he conspired against Stalin.