STALIN’S DEATH – THE END OF AN ERA

Stalin’s death marked a unique historical turning point in the mid-20 th century. For the first time ever, Stalin’s last body double tells his incredible story.

March 5, 1953. Stalin is dead. One day later, he is lying in state in an open coffin, as more than 1.5 million people make their way through the streets of Moscow, to say goodbye to a “godlike leader”, to a “father-figure”, to the “greatest person of the era”. This film recounts the events of the last days of Stalin’s life and tells the story of his death. In the early morning hours of March 2, 1953 at his secret summer home in Kuntsevo, on the outskirts of Moscow, neither his bodyguards nor his closest comrades are prepared for what they hear when the officer on duty reports that he has found Stalin unconscious in the study. No-one could say precisely when the stroke had occurred, as the guard was under strict orders not to disturb him, but his death when it comes is momentous and soon triggers a murderous battle for power in the Kremlin. To the surprise of many, it is Nikita Khrushchev who ultimately triumphs in the battle to be Stalin’s successor. The hotly tipped and very much feared former head of the secret service, Lavrentiy Beria, on the other hand, ends his days in 1953 in front of a firing squad. 1953 was, in fact, a pivotal year in the history of the Soviet Union and the Eastern bloc. In this documentary, Stalin’s last body double tells his incredible story for the very first time. Secret service officers, military personnel, Khrushchev’s son, gulag prisoners, authors and historians are all interviewed. Film locations include the summer home in Kuntsevo, where the dictator died. The house is shrouded in mystery and still closed to the public.

Genre History
Length 45’ HD
Film by Martin Hübner and Jürgen Ast
Production astfilm productions for RBB/MDR
Original Title Stalins Tod – Das Ende einer Ära / Les derniers jours de Staline
Year 2013

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Stalin’s death marked a unique historical turning point in the mid-20th century. For the first time ever, Stalin’s last body double tells his incredible story.

March 5, 1953. Stalin is dead. One day later, he is lying in state in an open coffin as more than 1.5 million mourners make their way through the streets of Moscow to pay their last respects. This film recounts the events of the last days of Stalin’s life and tells the story of his death. On the morning of March 2, 1953, at his secret summer home in Kuntsevo, on the outskirts of Moscow, neither his bodyguards nor his closest comrades are prepared for what they hear when the officer on duty reports that he has found Stalin unconscious in his study. No- one could say precisely when the stroke had occurred, as the guard had been under strict orders not to disturb him. But Stalin’s death is a momentous occasion and soon triggers a murderous battle for power in the Kremlin. To the surprise of many, it is Nikita Khrushchev who ultimately triumphs in the battle to be Stalin’s successor. In this film, Stalin’s last body double tells his incredible story for the very first time. Secret service officers, military personnel, Khrushchev’s son, gulag prisoners, authors and historians are interviewed. Film locations include the summer home in Kuntsevo, where the dictator died. The house is shrouded in mystery and still closed to the public.

History
Length
45’ HD
Film by
Martin Hübner and Jürgen Ast
Production
astfilm productions for RBB/MDR, 2013
Original title
Stalins Tod – Das Ende einer Ära