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Stalin's Death

Death of Stalin, Mourning ceremony, Gorky Tank Factory, Kiev, 6 March 1953
Mourning Stalin's death at the Gorky Tank Factory in Kiev, 6 March 1953

Stalin had suffered a stroke and lay unconscious for five days before he died on 5 March 1953. He might have been saved if doctors had been called in early enough, but in the panic of the Doctors' Plot none of Stalin's inner circle dared take the initiative. It is an irony that Stalin's death was caused by his own politics.

Huge crowds came to Moscow see Stalin's body in the Hall of Columns near Red Square. Hundreds were killed in the crush.

The loss of Stalin was a huge shock for the Soviet people. Millions grieved. For nearly thirty years they had lived in his shadow. Their grief was a natural reaction to the disorientation they were bound to feel upon his death, almost regardless of their experience in his reign. Even Stalin's victims felt sorrow.

Watch this short documentary film on Stalin's death. How do you account for the scenes of national mourning for dictator?

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