March 5, 2003

March 5, 1953

“Fifty years ago today Russia was delivered from the long nightmare of Joseph Stalin. The man who murdered his compatriots by the millions, who for three decades immersed his country in bloody terror, was finally gone.

It was the end of a reign under which every man and woman knew that he or she could at any time of the day or night be arrested, tortured and killed or sent to a concentration camp. Swept by deadly fear, Soviet people worshiped their ruler. They sacrificed neighbors, wives, husbands, mothers and fathers to Stalin. Denouncing your colleagues and relatives to the authorities in the hope of extending your own life a little longer became routine practice. ‘You die today, so I will live till tomorrow’ was the motto of Stalin’s subjects.”Masha Lipman, The Washington Post

An interesting article in today’s NY Times suggests that Stalin was poisoned by Beria.  Supposedly Stalin was planning to wage a war along the Pacific Coast of the U.S., so Beria decided to get rid of him.  Good idea.