(6 of 7)
Moreover, Russian officialdom began to experience a terror which continues to this day. For the murder of Stalin's "Dear Friend," Sergei M. Kirov, head of the Leningrad Soviet, who had once called Comrade Stalin the "greatest leader of all times and all nations," 117 persons were known to have been put to death. That started the fiercest empire-wide purge of modern times. Thousands were executed with only a ghost of a trial. Secret police reigned as ruthlessly over Russia as in Tsarist times. First it was the Cheka, next the OGPU, later the N.K.V.D.but essentially they were all the same. Comrade Stalin recognized their function when, one day, he viewed that part of the walls of the Kremlin from which Tsar Ivan IV watched his enemies executed, was reported as saying: "Ivan the Terrible was right. You cannot rule Russia without a secret police."
After his death Lenin was sanctified by Stalin. Joseph Stalin has gone a long way toward deifying himself while alive. No flattery is too transparent, no compliment too broad for him. He became the fountain of all Socialist wisdom, the uncontradictable interpreter of the Marxist gospel.
His dry doctrinal history of the Communist Party is a best-seller in Russia, just as Hitler's turgid but more interesting Mem Kampf outsells all secular volumes in Germany. He goes in for Nazi-like plebiscites. Hitler won his 1938 election by 99.08% of the voters; Stalin polls 115% in his own Moscow bailiwick. Stalin's photograph became the icon of the new State, whose religion is Communism.
But Joseph Stalin is not given to oratorical pyrotechnics. Only two or three times a year does he appear on the parapet of Lenin's tomb in Red Square, wearing his flat military cap, his military tunic, his high Russian boots. He attends Party meetings but rarely public gatherings. He has made only one radio speech and is not likely to make many more. His thick Georgian accent sounds strange to Russia.
Three Rooms. His life is mostly spent inside the foreboding walls of that collection of churches, palaces and barracks in Moscow called the Kremlin. His office is large and plain, decorated only by the pictures of Marx and Engels and a death mask in white plaster of Lenin. His private apartment, once the dwelling of the Kremlin's military commander, is only three rooms big.
Joseph Stalin has been married twice: first, in 1903, to a Georgian girl named Ekaterina Svanidze, who died in 1907, and then to Nadya Sergeievna Alleluieva, who died in 1932. By his first wife he had a son, Yasha Djugashvili, now in his thirties, an obscure engineer in Moscow. Father and son do not hit it off. By Mrs. Stalin No. 2 he had a son and daughter: Vasya, now 19, and Svetlana, 14. Good-looking Daughter Svetlana is the apple of her father's eye. The two children go to school, but live in the Kremlin. Joseph's cackling, gossipy mother, old Ekaterina Georguvna Djugashvili, whom Soviet and foreign journalists used to dote on interviewing, died in Tiflis in 1937. She had for several years lived in an apartment in the former palace of the Tsar's Georgian viceroy.