Stalin’s Bodyguard. The real story of Nikolai Vlasik
Having served the chief faithfully for a quarter of a century, the Creator of the security service of the first persons of the state were behind bars.
In the years of perestroika, when almost all men of Stalin’s entourage in the forefront of the Soviet press poured a shaft of various charges, the most unenviable share has fallen to General Vlasik. Many years the head of security of Stalin appeared in these materials, a real footman, who adored the host’s watchdog, ready at his command to rush to anyone, greedy, vengeful, and karastelevym.
Among those who were very generous with Vlasik negative adjectives, were Stalin’s daughter Svetlana Alliluyeva. But the bodyguard of the leader at the time had become almost the primary caregiver and for Svetlana and Vasily.
Nicholas Sidorovich Vlasic spent next to Stalin a quarter of a century, protecting the life of the Soviet leader. Without his bodyguard chief lived less than a year.
From parochial school to the Cheka
Nikolai Vlasik was born 22 may 1896 in Western Belarus, in the village of Babinichi, in a poor peasant family. The boy lost both parents and a good education could not count. After three classes of parochial school Nicholas went to work. With 13 years he worked as a laborer at a construction site, then a bricklayer, then as a loader at the paper factory.
In March 1915 Vlasic was drafted into the army and sent to the front. During the first World war he served in Ostrog 167 infantry regiment, for bravery in battle was awarded the George cross. After being wounded Vlasik produced in the non-commissioned officers and appointed platoon commander of an infantry regiment 251, which is located in Moscow.
During the October revolution, Nikolai Vlasik, who comes from the bottom, with his political choice was determined quickly: along with their platoon, he moved to the side of the Bolsheviks.
At first he served in the Moscow police, and then participated in the Civil war, was wounded at Tsaritsyn. In September 1919, Vlasik was sent to the Cheka, where he served in the Central office under the Felix Dzerzhinsky.
Master protection and life
In may 1926, Nikolai Vlasic served as the senior authorized Operative Department of the OGPU.
As he recalled Vlasic, his work as a bodyguard of Stalin began in 1927 after the state of emergency in the capital: the building of the commandant’s office in the Lubyanka was thrown a bomb. Were on vacation operative withdrew and declared: from now on it rests the security of the Special Department of the Cheka, the Kremlin, members of the government cottages, walks. Special attention was required to pay the personal protection of Joseph Stalin.
Despite the sad story of the attempt on Lenin, 1927, the protection of the first persons of the state in the USSR did not particularly care.
Stalin was accompanied by only one guard: Lithuanian, Uses. More Vlasic was surprised when they arrived to the country, usually where Stalin spent the weekend. At the cottage there was a commandant, there was no linen, no dishes, and ate the leader of sandwiches, brought from Moscow.
Like all Belarusian peasants, Nicholas Sidorovich Vlasic was a man of thorough and Thrifty. He took not only for security but also for the improvement of the life of Stalin.
The chief, accustomed to asceticism, at first, to the innovations of the new bodyguard was skeptical. But Vlasic was persistent: in the country there was a cook and a cleaning lady from the nearby farm was established supply of products. At the moment in the country did not even have telephone connection with Moscow, and it appeared through the efforts of Vlasic.
Over time, Vlasic created the whole system of villas in the suburbs and in the South, where trained staff was ready at any moment to receive the Soviet leader. That these objects were guarded very carefully, and say no.
The system of protection of important government facilities existed to Vlasic, but he became a developer of security measures to the head of state during his country visits, official events and international meetings.
Stalin’s bodyguard came up with a system whereby the first person and accompanying people move in the cavalcade of the same car, and only the personal protection officers know which of them goes the chief. Subsequently, this scheme has saved the life of Leonid Brezhnev, who was assassinated in 1969.
“Illiterate, stupid, but noble”
After a few years, Vlasic has turned to Stalin in an indispensable and the most trusted person. After the death of Nadezhda Alliluyeva, Stalin laid on his bodyguard of care for children: Svetlana, Vasily and adopted son Artyom Sergeev.
Nikolay Sidorovich was not a teacher, but I tried as best I could. If Svetlana and Artem gave him much trouble, Vasily since the childhood was out of control. Vlasic, knowing that Stalin descent children does not, tried wherever possible to mitigate the sins of Basil in the reports to the father.
But “pranks” became more and more serious, and as a “lightning rod” Vlasic has become increasingly difficult.
Svetlana and Artem, as adults, wrote about his “tutor” in different ways. Stalin’s daughter in “Twenty letters to a friend” characterized Vlasik: “He led the guards of his father, considered himself almost the closest person to him and, as he is incredibly uneducated, rude, stupid, but noble, came in recent years to the point that dictated some figures of art “tastes of comrade Stalin”, as the thought that he knows them well and understands… his Arrogance knew no bounds, and he graciously passed on to artists, “liked” or “most”, be it a movie, or Opera, or even the silhouettes were constructed when high-rise buildings…”.
“His whole life was work, and he lived near Stalin”
Artem Sergeev in “Conversations about Stalin” spoke otherwise: “Primary responsibility was the security of Stalin. This work was inhuman. Always the responsibility of the head always lives on the edge. He knew both friends and enemies of Stalin… That Vlasik was all for work? It was work day and night, there was a 6-8 hour day. His whole life was work, and he lived near Stalin. Adjoining Stalin was the room of Vlasic…”.
For ten or fifteen years, Nikolai Vlasik of the usual bodyguard turned General, who heads a huge structure, responsible not only for safety, but for the life of the first persons of the state.
During the war on the shoulders of Vlasic lay the evacuation of Moscow government, members of the diplomatic corps and of the Commissariat. It was necessary not only to deliver them in Kuybyshev, but also to place, to arrange in a new place, to consider the security issues. The evacuation of Lenin’s body from Moscow — also the job of Vlasic. He was also in charge of security at the parade on red square November 7, 1941.
The attack in Gagra
In all the years that Vlasic was responsible for the life of Stalin, with his head did not fall a single hair. The head guard of the leader, judging by his memories, the assassination threats are treated very seriously. Even in his later years he was convinced that the Trotskyist group was preparing the assassination of Stalin.
In 1935, the Vlasic really had to cover the leader from the bullets. During boat trips in the district of Gagra from the shore it was fired.
The bodyguard closed the Stalin of his body, but lucky both of the bullets don’t hurt. The boat came out of the attack zone.
Vlasic thought it was a real assassination attempt, and his opponents were later believed that it was all staged. Under the circumstances, there has been a misunderstanding. The border guards were not informed about the walk of Stalin on a boat and they took him for an intruder. Subsequently, the officer who ordered the shooting, was sentenced to five years. But in 1937, during the “great terror”, it is remembered again, had another trial and shot.
The abuse of cows
During the great Patriotic war Vlasic was responsible for security at conferences of heads of countries-participants of anti-Hitler coalition and with the task coped brilliantly. For the successful holding of the conference in Tehran Vlasic was awarded the order of Lenin, for the Crimean conference, the order of Kutuzov I degree, Potsdam — another order of Lenin.
But the Potsdam conference was the occasion for charges of embezzlement:
it was alleged that after its completion Vlasic brought from Germany a variety of values, including a horse, two cows and one bull.
Subsequently, this fact is cited as an example of the insatiable greed of Stalin’s bodyguard.
The Vlasic remembering that this story was a different background. In 1941, his native village Babinichi was captured by the Germans. The house in which lived sister, burned half the village were shot, the oldest daughter of sister deported to work in Germany, the cow and the horse took. My sister and her husband joined the partisans, and after the liberation of Belarus he returned to his native village, from which little remains. Stalin’s bodyguard brought cattle from Germany to loved ones.
Was it abuse? If approached in a strict sense, then, perhaps, Yes. But Stalin, when he first reported this case, abruptly ordered that further investigation be discontinued.
In 1946, Lieutenant General Nikolai Vlasik was the head of the Main Department of protection of: offices with an annual budget of 170 million rubles, and thousands of staff.
He did not struggle for power, but at the same time amassed a huge number of enemies. Being too close to Stalin, Vlasic had the opportunity to influence the attitude of the leader to a particular person, deciding who will get greater access to the first person, and to whom the opportunity will be denied.
The Almighty head of the Soviet secret police Lavrenty Beria passionately wanted to get rid of Vlasic. The dirt on Stalin’s bodyguard gathered carefully, drop by drop undermining the trust of the leader to him.
In 1948 he was arrested by the commandant of the so-called “Near cottages” Fedoseev, who testified that Vlasic had intended to poison Stalin. But the chief again did not take the accusation seriously: if the bodyguard had similar intentions to implement his plans, he could long ago.
In 1952, at the decision of the Politburo established a Commission on the audit of the SBE MGB. This time it surfaced very unpleasant facts, looking quite believable.
Guards and staff spardac, which for weeks was empty, staged a real Orgy, plundered food and expensive drinks. Later, there were witnesses who claimed that he and Vlasic were not averse to relax in this way.
April 29, 1952 on the basis of these materials Nikolai Vlasik was dismissed and sent to the Urals, in the town of Asbestos, Deputy head of the Bazhenov formation of correctional labor camps of the USSR.
“Cohabited with women and drank alcohol in their free time”
Why did Stalin suddenly departed from man, to serve him for 25 years? Perhaps the blame was heightened leader in recent years suspicion. It is not excluded, that Stalin considered the embezzlement of state funds on a drunken binge too serious transgression. There is a third assumption. It is known that the Soviet leader during this period was to promote young leaders, and former colleagues spoke openly: “it is Time you make a change.” Perhaps Stalin felt that it is time to replace and Vlasik.
Whatever it was, but for the former head of Stalin’s security guards had a very hard time.
In December 1952 he was arrested in connection with the “case of doctors”. The guilt he put that statement Lydia Timashuk, who accused the professors who treated the first persons of the state of sabotage, he left without attention.
The Vlasic in memoirs, wrote that there were no grounds to believe Timashuk was not: “No data discrediting professors, was not what I reported to Stalin”.
In prison Vlasik was interrogated under torture for several months. For someone who was already far beyond 50, the disgraced bodyguard held firmly. Was ready to recognize the “moral decay” and even embezzlement of funds, but not a conspiracy and espionage. “I really cohabited with many women, drank alcohol with them and the artist Stenberg, but it was due to my personal health and in their free time,” was his testimony.
Could Vlasic extend the life of the leader?
March 5, 1953 Joseph Stalin. Even if we reject the dubious version of the murder of the leader, Vlasic, he stay at his post, could well prolong his life. When the leader became ill Near the cottage, he spent several hours lying on the floor of his room without help, security did not dare to enter in Stalin’s quarters. There is no doubt that Vlasic wouldn’t allow it.
After the death of the leader of the “doctors ‘ case” was closed. All defendants were released, except for Nikolai Vlasik. Did not bring him the freedom and the collapse of Lavrenty Beria in June 1953.
In January 1955 the Military Collegium of the Supreme court has recognized Nikolai Vlasik guilty of abuse of power with particularly aggravating circumstances, and sentenced under article 193-17 “b” of the criminal code of the RSFSR to 10 years of exile, deprivation of the rank of General and state awards. In March 1955, the term Vlasic reduced to 5 years. Sentence sent to Krasnoyarsk.
Decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet on 15 December 1956, Vlasik was pardoned with the removal of a criminal record, but in military ranks and awards was not restored.
“One minute I had in his soul of evil Stalin”
He returned to Moscow, where he had almost nothing left: the property was confiscated, has turned into a utility. Vlasic knocked at doors of offices, wrote to the leaders of the party and government, asked about rehabilitation and restoration in the party, but were refused everywhere.
Secretly, he began to dictate his memoirs in which he talked about how you saw your life, why you did certain things, how to treat Stalin.
“After Stalin’s death there was such an expression as “cult of personality”… If man is the head of their Affairs deserve the love and respect of others, that’s wrong… People loved and respected Stalin. He personified the country, which led to the prosperity and victories, — wrote Nikolai Vlasik. Under his leadership, it made a lot of good, and people saw it. He enjoyed great authority. I knew him very closely… And I say that he lived only by the interests of the country, the interests of its people”.
It is easy to blame all the deadly sins that he’s dead and can neither justify nor defend. Why in life no one dared to tell him his errors? What hurt? Fear? Or didn’t have these errors, which had to specify?The Memoirs Of Nikolai Vlasik
So what was the terrible Tsar Ivan IV, and were the people whom the road was the home that are not afraid of death, pointed out to him his errors. Or extinct in Russia brave people? so thought Stalin’s bodyguard.
Summing up the memoir and his life in General, Vlasic wrote: “Not having a single foreclosure, but only one encouragement and awards, I was expelled from the party and thrown into prison.
But never, not one minute, in whatever state I may be, no matter how bullied I was exposed to while in prison, I did not have in his soul the evil Stalin. I knew, what was created around him, the situation in the last years of his life. As it was difficult. He was old, sick, lonely man… He was and remains for me the most dear person, and no slander could not shake the feeling of love and the deepest respect that I always had for this good man. He personified for me all bright and dear in my life is a party, the Motherland and my people.
Nicholas Sidorovich Vlasic died 18 Jun 1967. His archive was confiscated and kept secret. Only in 2011 the Federal security service declassified the notes of a man who, in fact, stood at the origins of its creation.
Friends of Vlasic made repeated attempts to achieve his rehabilitation. After several failures June 28, 2000 decree of the Presidium of the Russian Supreme Court verdict in 1955 was canceled and the criminal case was terminated “for lack of corpus delicti”.