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How Not To Write About Stalin

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Chapter Summary

Miss Stalin both demonstrates and helps to perpetuate one of the myths of the modern world: the belief that the explanation of what is puzzling on the public stage lies in the realm of private life. There is a small grain of truth here. Miss Stalin's revelation that her father was exceptionally good at handling domestic servants is quite as uninteresting, and obviously so. Less obvious and therefore more dangerous is the suggestion that two of Stalin's personal relationships may explain at least in part the development and character of his tyranny. The first of Miss Stalin's suggestions is that her mother's suicide may have played a decisive role in Stalin's development. The second suggestion is that the author of the essential evil in Stalin's career was Beria. The two suggestions are linked, for Beria's ascendancy followed, on Miss Stalin's interpretation, the death of her mother.

Keywords:Beria; Miss Stalin; modern world; private life



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