Staunton, Dec. 28 – The continuing belief among many Russians that Stalin was all knowing combined with the murkiness of events just before and surrounding his death continue to spark rumors that the Soviet leader left a testament that would have saved the USSR and that he was killed and it destroyed so that plan could not be realized.
On the one hand, the Russian Seven portal which specializes in historical questions says, this is nothing more than the latest iteration of the longstanding faith Russians have in “the good tsar surrounded by bad boyars.” But on the other, there are reasons to think there may be something to it (russian7.ru/post/taynoe-zaveshhanie-chto-sluchilos-s-lichn/).
In October 1952, at the 19th Party Congress, Stalin gave up his post as general secretary of the party, replaced the Politburo with a larger Presidium, and renamed the party itself the CPSU dropping the word “Bolshevik.” Many historians see these steps as a provocation, but others believe they signaled that Stalin really was planning for the future after him.
Then, on the night of February 28-March 1, 1953, Stalin met with his four closest comrades, Beria, Malenkov, Bulganin, and Khrushchev. “What they talked about is unknown,” Russia Seven says. And the Soviet leader invited all of them to return for dinner the night of March 1.
But that dinner didn’t take place. Before it could, Stalin was unconscious. Four days later he was dead. Did his comrades kill him? And if so, did they do so not because of what he had done in the past but because of what he intended to do in the future? If Stalin left a testament, such questions could be answered.
The problem is that if he did leave such a document, it was destroyed, possibly by Beria who went through the leader’s papers or by Khrushchev who purged them thoroughly. Or possibly, Russia Seven suggests, it was destroyed by the Americans when they reportedly took away Stalin’s archive in the 1990s and then returned some or all of it.
“Stories about ‘the political testament’ of Stalin which his unworthy epigones were not able to carry out began to circulate in the early 1990s,” the portal says. Many believed that Stalin had figured out how to save the Soviet Union but that his underlings worked to destroy it and were thus hiding his testament and its answers from the people.
Of course, “there is nothing impossible about the idea that Stalin really had in early 1953 certain specific plans for reassigning people in the event of his death and possibly even during his life. It is possible too that he left some notes and even advised those closest to him about these plans,” Russia Seven says.
“But,” the portal continues, “it is hardly likely that if these notes were found now, we would find in them some hidden wisdom.” There was no wisdom to be found from that source that would have “saved the Soviet Union” however much some Russians to this day want to believe otherwise.
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