Peaches from Our Tree

R.W. Davies

In 1969 Stalin’s closest associate, Vyasheslav Molotov, in retirement and disgrace, transferred to the Central Party Archive in Moscow 77 letters and notes which he had received from Stalin in the tumultuous decade 1925-36. The letters were stored in complete secrecy for 20 years. In 1989 they were made available to a handful of Soviet historians, and the following year 20 of the most important letters were published in Soviet journals. Now we have two fine parallel editions of the whole set of letters in Russian and English. The Russian editors were working under serious constraints, however. ‘Materials about decisions on many questions dealt with in Stalin’s letters are still kept in secrecy in the Archive of the President of the Russian Federation; in many cases this was an obstacle to the preparation of commentaries,’ they remark with acid restraint. On the other hand, the Presidential Archive has issued a volume of documents – Iosif Stalin v Obyatiyakh Semi (‘Joseph Stalin in the Embrace of His Family’) – containing Stalin’s correspondence in 1928-31 with his wife Nadezhda Allilueva, who committed suicide in 1932, and letters from Allilueva and Stalin to his mother.

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