Sunday, January 9, 2022

Stalin and the Tramp

In the early 1930s, Stalin was a divisive figure in Russia. He was a paranoid man. He used to brood over the disloyalty of his political associates and his family members. Though he had little reason to fear a coup, he knew that he could be assassinated. Yet he used to walk from his Old Square office to his home protected by just one bodyguard. 

One night in November 1932, Stalin and Molotov were walking home in a snowstorm. They did not have a bodyguard. When they were passing through the Manege Square, they were approached by a beggar. Stalin gave the beggar 10 roubles. The beggar was disappointed by the paltry amount that was being offered to him. He shouted: “You damned bourgeois!” Stalin mused: “Who can understand the Russian people?” 

In 1930, the Politburo had passed a decree “to ban Comrade Stalin from walking around in Moscow on foot.” But Stalin continued to walk till the start of the Second World War.

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