“He was forbidden wine and beer”
From what was treated Stalin in a long vacation in the South.
The figure of Joseph Stalin still many causes mixed feelings, it is not surprising that some of our readers resent the tone of publications about the Soviet leader. But now we are not talking about it. In a bitter dispute about our hero is often forgotten that Stalin was an ordinary man — with their diseases, habits and Hobbies. Why Stalin loved for a long time to rest, affect whether the disease in its decisions and his domestic austerity combined with a passion for sumptuous banquets, “the Tape.ru” said the doctor of historical Sciences, leading researcher of the Institute of Russian history, Vladimir Nevezhin.
“Ribbon.ru”: What we now know about diseases of Stalin?
Nevezhin: Illness of any person, and especially a famous politician and statesman is a very sensitive subject. So, in my opinion, we should avoid ad-libbing and banter, and adhere strictly to the letter of the document.
In Soviet times, the theme of diseases of Stalin were closed to historians, remained unavailable and documents from the personal Fund of Stalin. In such a situation, it would be possible to spread different kind of rumors and fraud.
You mean paranoia, supposedly diagnosed in Stalin’s famous psychiatrist Bekhterev?
Yes, this is the most typical hearing. The presence of Stalin mental illness (schizophrenia or paranoia) of many, mostly in the West, explained some of his actions. For example, this is often motivated by the political repressions of the 1930-ies.
And how was actually?
In fact, no documents at this point. The diagnosis of spondylitis we know only from the words of his descendants. Is it possible to believe it, let everyone decides for himself. I’ll just say that paranoia is a very serious disease in which it is impossible for a long time to govern.
Of course, the nature of Stalin was heavy — he could easily be rude or to curse, but to the beginning of the 1930-ies it is impossible to detect in it the propensity to cruelty or unwarranted violence.
Probably, the cause of his intolerance and categorically manifested at this time, became age-related changes.
With regard to documents, materials from personal Fund of Stalin and the Politburo of the Central Committee of the Bolshevik party became available to researchers only in 1990-ies. He was then introduced some documents from the history of the leader. Finally, in 2016, historian and publicist Ivan Chigirin published those materials that have survived to our time.
Disease Of Stalin
What illnesses suffered Stalin at the time of his coming to power?
By the end of 1920-ies, if you consider this date as a watershed, marking the arrival of Stalin to power, he suffered several diseases. In 1921, he removed the Appendix in Soldatenkovskaya (Botkin) hospital in Moscow. The operation, which was conducted by the surgeon Vladimir Nikolaevich Rozanov (one of the doctors who treated Lenin), was heavy. Resection was performed of the stomach, which is the removal of parts to improve digestion.
Stalin’s state was critical, there was a real threat to his life, so within two weeks after the surgery he stayed in the hospital.
In history Stalin, who on March 23, 1923, signed doctors of the Kremlin polyclinic Minkovsky, Foerster and Kramer (by the way, they were the doctors of Lenin), it was noted that in 1908 the patient has suffered relapsing fever. In 1915, Stalin has earned articular rheumatism, which was a consequence of stay in Turukhansk polar link. Rheumatism accompanied by pain in the left forearm.
Think Stalin to the end of his life he suffered withered?
Yes, it was also the result of a boyhood injury when he drove a horse-drawn carriage, injured his left arm and ear. By the way, in 1915, Stalin has avoided being sent to the front — he was retired due to illness.
What had Stalin?
Stalin suffered from angina, he had almost every year. He could get it even at the resort, simply drinking cold mineral water.
In 1923 he was diagnosed with neurasthenia, Stalin complained of dizziness and temporary memory loss when severe fatigue.
Then he had lung problems and sciatica.
Stalin was watching my health? If he tried to protect himself and loved to relax?
Undoubtedly, like any mortal, Stalin cherished his illness and loved to relax. I think he boasted that the doctors can’t cure diseases. Stalin often said that you can recover with the help of wine. However, from his correspondence it follows that the leader praised the results of his treatment at the black sea coast (Sochi, Matsesta and Gagra). From the same source it follows that Stalin did not trust the German doctors working in Soviet Russia. They monitored the health of not only Lenin and other Bolshevik leaders, including Stalin and Trotsky. Spoke well of Stalin in his correspondence about Vladimir Nikolaevich Rozanov, who saved him in 1921.
Stalin and resorts
When Stalin began to travel regularly to the resorts?
On the advice of Lenin and Rozanov in the summer of 1921, Stalin had sent to the Caucasus to complete the course of postoperative rehabilitation.
Lenin closely followed the health of Stalin during his stay in Soldatenkovskaya the hospital and went to that apartment after discharge. April 23, 1921, the Politburo decided to give Stalin an extended vacation. He was obliged to stay in bed, and then for six weeks was sent to recover in the end. It turns out that for the first time, Stalin received a long leave for treatment in 1921. Prior to that, as follows from the documents of the Politburo, he was given a short leave within two weeks.
However he went not in his hand, and in Nalchik, where, according to the memoirs of Mikoyan, without any medical supervision. Stalin was on vacation for two months — from early June to early August. Moreover, being then people’s Commissar for nationalities, he actively participated in various party meetings, stayed in Tiflis.
After learning that Stalin distract from the rest, Lenin had twice sent cipher telegrams Ordzhonikidze (he was then a member of the Caucasian Bureau of the Central Committee of the Bolshevik party), which expressed their dissatisfaction.
In September-October 1923 Stalin, on the recommendation of the German doctors spend their vacation in Yessentuki and Kislovodsk, and took a mud bath there. In 1925 he began to visit regularly for treatment to Sochi, Matsesta and Gagra. In 1929, Stalin again headed to Nalchik, however, his doctors discovered a suspected pneumonia, and he went to Sochi, where he completed his treatment. In the postwar period Stalin once spent a vacation in the Crimea, then vacationing in Sochi, Abkhazia and Georgia.
Is it true that he became the founder of a fashion holiday in the South?
No, all the Bolshevik leaders really liked for a long time to relax. Bukharin, Zinoviev and especially Trotsky simply did not get out of vacations in the Caucasus and the waters, therefore, on the background of Stalin was not particularly distinguished.
Why Stalin had such a long vacation?
As I said, the tradition of extended sick leave have developed in the circle of the Soviet leadership in the early 1920-ies, immediately after the end of the Civil war. From the materials of the Politburo and the correspondence of the Soviet leaders, it follows that the period length of leave ranged from one month to three months. Avid vacationers were Trotsky, Zinoviev, Bukharin, Rykov and Ordzhonikidze.
It seems to me that Stalin, as General Secretary of the Communist party and directly distributing the timing of holidays members of the Politburo and the Central Committee (then the vacation schedule approved higher party body), not abused, but, to put it mildly, used his position and has established itself as a very long vacation. Besides, until the suicide of his wife Nadezhda Alliluyeva in 1932, his release took the form of family trips to the South. Stalin took with him his wife, son Basil, daughter, Svetlana, adopted son Artem and relatives Alliluyeva.
In the postwar years, from 1945 to 1951, Stalin’s holidays are generally almost limitless — they lasted three to four months.
The record in this sense was the last in the life of Stalin’s vacation in 1951, which lasted from 10 August to 22 December. In General, comrade Stalin knew a lot about the holiday and loved the accommodation.Stalin and alcohol
How did Stalin break? What was he doing on vacation in the South were swimming or sunbathing?
From the point of view of the actual recreation Stalin was not very active. It is unlikely that he liked to sunbathe, especially if you consider that he was born and raised in the Caucasus.
There is no information that Stalin was an avid bather, most likely, prevented rheumatism.
Although history recorded in 1929, the Council of doctors “swimming in the sea,” but in 1935, doctors gave him different advice: “in the sea not to swim, referring to the former rheumatic phenomena”. When he was travelling with his wife and children, arrange family picnics with the invitation of other high-ranking guests (for example, Molotov and Voroshilov). Stalin loved to play skittles, were not averse to round up the “party” pool.
However, as follows from the correspondence of the leader and the memoirs of his associates, even on vacation Stalin constantly worked. He studied numerous documents that were sent to him from Moscow colleagues, remaining “on the party economy” in the capital.
In the postwar period, some of them (particularly Malenkov and Khrushchev) specifically went on vacation to the South to be closer to the leader. If they tried to visit him and to receive instruction. After the war, Stalin often took in the South some of the heads of foreign States — for example, Matthias Rakosi of Hungary and Enver Hodja in Albania.
As the health leader was influenced by alcohol and Smoking?
As you know, Stalin was a heavy smoker. Doctors have repeatedly advised him to “reduce Smoking” as, for example, is recorded in history in 1926. And in 1936, the Kremlin Levin doctor recommended and the patient treated in Matsesta, “to curb Smoking”.
As for alcohol, Stalin loved to arrange a feast in a narrow circle of associates.
In September 1936, while on vacation in Sochi, he invited me to visit the participants of the heroic flight from Moscow to the far East: Chkalov, Baidukov and Belyakov with their wives. In General, Stalin loved every feast, including with the invitation of the attending physicians.
According to the memoirs of doctor Ivan Valedynskyi, observed Stalin from the mid 1920s until the end of 1930-ies, the leader often happy to suit the community. So he called a small feast at the end of the reception of the Matsesta baths. Stalin himself mostly drank only wine, and never drank, but loved pretty to entertain your guests, especially brandy and vodka. Valedynskyi then told that after one such “work day” he woke up on the dusty attic.
The doctors tried to deny Stalin a drink?
No. In any case, in the history of his disease such recommendations I discovered. Apparently, they were just afraid to do it. Although in February 1944, during another illness, Kremlin doctors categorically forbade Stalin wine and beer.
The passion for alcohol sometimes led to funny situations. One of them was in the summer of 1926. According to the decision of the Politburo, may 20, Stalin received a six-week leave for treatment. But he went not in Sochi, and in Tiflis, where he was met by Ordzhonikidze and Mikoyan.
After this merry trio left in a week’s spree, toured almost the whole of the Caucasus.
Where were they?
They visited Borjomi, Kutaisi, Gori (the birthplace of the leader) and many other places, then from Poti Stalin went to Sochi. While on the road without medical supervision, he was poisoned fish. However, Stalin wanted, in his own words, to continue “Kolobrodov” (of course, being drunk). In the end, during the medical examination on 16 June the doctor Victor F. Podgursky plucked up courage and forbade Stalin to drink alcohol. Now he was ordered only to take the Matsesta baths.
Stalin, stress and war
Stalin was not afraid to permanently leave Moscow? Especially after the death of Lenin when the Bolshevik leadership there was a fierce struggle for power.
I think the importance of this struggle now is somewhat exaggerated. During internal debates of the second half of 1920-ies on the development of the country if for Stalin and I fought, so it is for their health. How could he afford such a magical voyage to the Caucasus in company with Ordzhonikidze and Mikoyan in 1926, if I seriously feared for his position?
After the suicide of his wife Nadezhda he traveled to the South alone?
Often he would bring someone from his entourage. For example, in 1933 the company he holiday made up Voroshilov and Budyonny. But Stalin did not really work — he was constantly in correspondence with Moscow in the discussion and decision of important state problems.
Stalin knew then what was happening in the country? On collectivization, of the famine?
Of course, he knew everything. Stalin was always well informed about the real situation in the country, receiving secret reports, which were prepared by law enforcement agencies — GPU (from 1934 — NKVD).
As Stalin’s health was affected by the war?
Undoubtedly, during the years of the great Patriotic war, when Stalin concentrated in his hands the entire party and state power, his health has suffered greatly from stress and constant stress. As follows from medical documents, in February 1944, the chief was very ill. Moreover, from 1937 and 1945, Stalin never was on extended leave.
Why do you think?
Probably because of the difficult situation in the country and the world. According to the register of visitors to his office, in the summer of 1937 to 1938, Stalin was constantly in Moscow. He didn’t even go to the funeral of his mother, who died in June 1937.
When was his last prewar and first postwar vacation?
The last pre-war vacation, Stalin was from 14 August to 25 October 1936. According to tradition, he held it in Sochi. During the first post-war holiday — from 8 October to 21 December 1945 — Stalin was also in Sochi.
They say when in the autumn of 1945, Stalin went on vacation in the West decided that he was very sick and his days are numbered.
Yes, the American President Truman even sent to him Harriman to clarify the situation. But nothing surprising in this. Different kinds of insinuations about the health of Stalin in the Western press appeared regularly.
Often told that Stalin was an ascetic and unpretentious in life. Is it really so?
Most likely, in everyday life, Stalin was indeed an ascetic. Suffice it to recall the descriptions his Kremlin home left Henri Barbusse, Winston Churchill and Anthony Eden.
However, when it came to public interest, Stalin sought to demonstrate sovereign luxury.
Foreign guests he wanted to impress the splendour of the apartments, which was conducted the official ceremony.
You are talking about the famous Stalin’s banquets in the ceremonial halls of the Grand Kremlin Palace?
Of course. Even during the great Patriotic war at official receptions tables Laden with fine food and a huge variety of alcoholic beverages. Some foreign guests were amazed by it.
For example, the American envoy Averell Harriman and British foreign Minister Eden considered such a luxury in the starving and war-torn country is just disgusting.
In fact, Stalin was so keen to demonstrate to our allies that the Soviet Union firmly held on the feet.
Stalin traveled to places for holidays?
Trains, cars, very rare steamers.
How much Stalin had country residences and all whether it is used?
According to various estimates, in the 1920s — the early 1950-ies in the order of Stalin, there were about 20 cottages. At the location of these residences were divided into “far” (located mainly in the South, where Stalin used to relax in the prewar and postwar years), and “neighbors”, located in the Moscow suburbs (Zubalovo, limes and Kuntsevo). However, most of these villas Stalin, not only lived, but just did not happen. By the way, this year I plan to release a book where all of this will be explained in detail.
If he had a favorite residence?
A favorite place of permanent residence for him was “near” dacha in Volyn (“Kuntsevo dacha”), which has been preserved until now. Because more often than Stalin was vacationing in Matsesta, it can be assumed that he preferred there is located the residence “Green grove” (Matsesta). Although it is possible that loved and “Cold river” (Gagra), “Musser” (Abkhazia) and “Borjomi” (Georgia).
Where Stalin spent his last vacation?
In Borjomi. Apparently, at the end of Stalin’s life pulled in Georgia, home.
Why his last vacation in 1951 was so long? And why did he not go to the South in 1952?
The answer to both of those questions — he was already very old and sick. Moreover, in October, 1952, for the first time in many years in Moscow gathered the Congress party, which had to be prepared very seriously. After the Congress he planned to carry out major personnel changes in the leadership of the country. But Stalin did not have time to do that in March 1953 he died.
Interviewed By Andrew Mozzhukhin