Sample DP History IA: Was Stalin Poisoned?

Was Stalin Murdered?

Identification and Evaluation of Sources: 

Was Stalin murdered? Two key sources encompassing different fields will of particular use. 

Source 1: “The Death of Stalin – Was It a Natural Death or Poisoning? By Miguel Faria. Published by Surgical Neurology International, 30 July 2015 

Originating as an article from the Surgical Neurology Journal, it aims to argue that Stalin was murdered. As Stalin’s death was determined to involve neurological and cardio-vascular issues through cerebral Hemorrhaging caused by stroke , Faria is especially valuable given his expertise in these fields . Thus he reexamines the circumstances of Stalin’s death through a fresh and professional medical view of the circumstances with particular focus on the autopsy. Faria himself notes this, stating, “[p]hysicians can be historians, but historians cannot be physicians” and warns how neglecting medicine in history creates a skewed view of it . Additionally, Faria was able to personally analyze Stalin’s autopsy records and therefore was able to verify the current claims and investigate his own. Furthermore, his role as an adjunct professor of medical history aids in the evaluation of these medical documents, allowing Faria to accurately analyse Stalin’s death. Consequently Faria stands opposes the official views and reports presented by the official autopsy, going so far as to blame Lavrenti Beria.

Source 2: The Court of the Red Tsar by Simon Sebag Montefiore. 

Originally published by Weidenfeld & Nicholson, 2003 Reader at Cambridge University and winner of multiple historical prizes including history book of the year, Montefiore has been described “meticulous” and his book praised by other historians such as Richard Pipes for its “historical accuracy”.  Montefiore enjoyed rare access to the archives with Robert Weinberg stating it “could [not] have been written in its current form without such access [to the archives].”  Montefiore has written two award-winning biographies on him. This particular has the added benefit of containing previously secret documents focusing focus specifically on Stalin and his relation to his associates rather than general politics. His focus on “the magnates” that surrounded him permits an in depth investigation as to why someone would want Stalin dead by one exceptionally well-versed in the material. Additionally, I have had the opportunity to personally interview Montefiore specifically considering the death of Stalin and his book on multiple occasions to provide development and context to his words twenty years after publication. However, Montefiore is not a licensed physician and may have overlooked some details of the autopsy or not noticed them. 


On March 5, 1953 Stalin died at his Dacha on the outskirts of Moscow. His death was determined as a stroke by doctors who had arrived just after his death. What has prompted some to revise Stalin’s death were the mysterious circumstances that surrounded the death, for instance: the lack of called medical attention, Beria’s actions and unusual artifacts in the autopsy documents. This essay will be investigating these claims through Dr. Miguel Faria’s report indicating that Stalin was potentially poisoned by Beria as opposed to an orthodox theory presented Simon Sebag Montefiore, which states that his death was caused by stroke induced by poor health. 

Analyzing the post-mortem to identify “numerous hemorrhages in the cardiac muscle and in the lining of the stomach and intestine,”  Faria argues that Stalin could only have died from suffocation after a stroke if “hypertensive cerebral hemorrhaging” had been contained to the brain. However since hemorrhaging appeared in other body systems Faria argues that this is most likely a sign that Stalin was poisoned,  emphasizing  that this type of cerebral hemorrhaging does not cause the vomiting of blood as stated in the autopsy and is very likely due to a poisonous substance. 

At this point many such as Montefiore point to the official post mortem and the medication he was taking to claim it was signed off by respected and experienced doctors, although context in which this document was signed off is crucial. This post mortem was signed mere months after the doctor’s plot, leaving such an occurrence fresh in their minds. Despite Stalin’s death, Mikhail Ryumin, the man that had engineered the doctors plot was still in office and may have been rearing his head at the opportunity to strike . This would’ve made the doctors wary of publishing the post mortem as a case of poisoning, as Ryumin may have seen this as an opportunity to remove the culprit that poisoned Stalin and the doctors that were complicit. In addition to this Beria had the doctors under his thumb as the new minister of internal affairs, and he understandably would have wanted to keep such a thing quiet if he had poisoned Stalin. In addition to this Molotov, an important member of the politburo, suspected that Stalin was assassinated by Beria.  Thus as Faria argues if the autopsy had cited poisoning as the cause of death Beria would have certainly been the prime suspect and perhaps even outright culprit.   

Given that he explicitly intimated that he was behind Stalin’s murder, by stating “I did him in, I saved you all” at Stalin’s funeral.  This would’ve given Beria’s political opponents such as Ryumin and Kruschev a lot of firepower to remove Beria. Faria argues such anomalies in the autopsy reports and the presence of irregular internal bleeding and vomiting suggest poisoning, arguing how unlikely all of these symptoms would have occurred at the same time without an external substance. Faria in fact agrees to the same specific poison used as suggested by both Naumov and Brent- Warafin. Further supporting this claim, a new bodyguard not previously in Stalin’s employ entered his room around 6 am, re-appearing to say Stalin had given the guards an order to “go to bed.” Molotov implies that this bodyguard, possibly under Beria’s employ, had poisoned Stalin in his sleep and lied to the others.  

 However, such a first-hand account cannot be independently verified. Additionally, Stalin’s inner circle seemed to have no intention of calling for medical attention despite Stalin having suffered a stroke 6-8 hours before. Beria exclaimed to the servants ‘[w]hy did you panic? Can't you see Comrade Stalin is sound asleep? All of you get out and leave our leader in peace, I shall deal with you in due course!'.  Stalin’s daughter also testified to the politburos refrain from calling any proper medical attention, claiming Stalin was sleeping and required no medical attention for 12 hours.  

Eventually Beria only called intellectuals who had no practical experience in the field . He blamed Stalin's death on the Jewish doctors previously identified in the Doctor’s Plot, despite being incarcerated. As Stalin showed limited signs of recovery Beria began spewing hatred and mockery towards him; when Stalin regained even the slightest consciousness Beria “[t]hrew himself on his knees, seized Stalin’s hand, and started kissing it”  according to Molotov, present with Beria at the time. Montefiore argues that the evidence clearly points towards a natural death in the official post mortem, going so far as to say that “the other murder theory is just a nonsense conspiracy theory”  and deems the revisionist theories as invalid. Montefiore argues that Stalin had been showing signs of deteriorating health for a consistent amount of time, as sourced from Stalin’s personal physician Vladimir Vinogradov whose records of Stalin portray him to be an alcoholic to the extent where his blood pressure would rise to dangerous levels; Vinogradov warned continued binge drinking’s would result in hypertension.  This was after his binges in 1944-45 and later records on Stalin’s potential drinking habits and blood pressure are hard to come by, as later in his life he became increasingly skeptical of doctors. However Vinogradov still advised him to avoid “Banyas” (Saunas) in the later of stages of his life to avoid higher blood pressure levels.  

Montefiore notes that Beria advised him to disregard the doctor’s advice by saying  “he did not have to believe the doctors” showing that Beria did not have Stalin’s health in mind, and may have already been rooting for his demise. Regardless of this, Stalin did have the prerequisites for a stroke and this narrative certainly aligns with the autopsy results. In addition to this, when conversing with Montefiore he stated that Stalin was on blood thinning medication at the time, which may have been the reason for the excessive amounts of blood found in the stomach, which Montefiore already states is common in most stroke victims. To support the claims that Stalin died of a stroke, Vinogradov had prescribed Stalin with anti-stroke medication, showing that Stalin was considered at risk at the time. In addition to this Vinogradov deemed Stalin to be “in poor condition” and advised him to do as little work as possible . Another medical historian, Russel L. Blaylock MD, offers another alternative to the suspicious gastric lesions that Faria states were caused by poison, suggesting that these lesions could also be a side effect of ‘intracerebral hemorrhaging,’ amplified by the fact that he “lived for a number of hours after the event”, thus causing “Cushing’s ulcers” which also cause gastric lesions and erosions. To also possibly answer the presence of necrosis and muscular hemorrhaging in the cardiac muscle, Blaylock states that this can be caused as a side effect of “intracranial erosions”.   

Whilst such diagnoses offer support for irregularities, Blaylock himself actually agrees with Faria that Stalin had probably been poisoned, wishing to simply consider all avenues. Stalin certainly was prone to having a stroke, and as Vinogradov explains was rather unhealthy at the time, aligning with the post mortem and cause of death, as his doctors had already warned him about the possibility of a stroke. However as Faria’s investigations have concluded, the irregularities in the post mortem and the numerous oddities concerning internal bleeding in other body systems in tangent with strong contextual evidence such as Beria’s claims to have killed him, his actions leading up to his death, numerous testimonials and suspicious interactions concerning the guards support the theory that he was poisoned. Blaylock’s arguments as to why internal bleeding and gastric lesions occurred in other body systems may be correct, but the likelihood that all of these things happened by chance is quite unlikely due to the fact that they are quite rare occurrences as argued by Faria.  

However, it is quite difficult to know for certain as to what actually occurred to Stalin; as Montefiore explained to me that there are many information vacuums and no hard, undisputable evidence to drive any argument home.  Despite this the evidence presented here indicates that it was far more likely that Stalin died due to poisoning rather than a stroke induce by poor health. In conclusion, the circumstantial evidence combined with the irregularities in the post mortem indicate that Stalin was victim to murder by another one of his party members.


 This particular investigation is heavily centered on analysis of the post mortem and thus gravitates towards the usage of medical terminology and medical analysis thus making it rather difficult for me or any other historian not versed in medicine to come to an informed conclusion. This subsequently makes it difficult for a historian such as Montefiore to independently verify the source or even come to understand it very easily. Thankfully another medical historian was able to verify or at least dispute some of the information that was provided by Faria in this case yet the problem is still very present. This investigation was also rather inhibiting when it came to personal research, as many of the documents such as the actual post mortem are in short supply and most of the time I had to refer to Montefiore for assistance. In addition to this even the post mortem, an archival piece was rather limiting due to the lack of primary testimonials from doctors who wrote it and virtually no sources verifying the true legitimacy of the contents of the document. Finally, many of the testimonial data may be biased due to their close connections to the events, such as Svetlana’s potential hatred of Beria for if not killing him, allowing for his death. In addition to this people like Svetlana were important to providing a taste, yet perhaps not fully understanding of the big picture and may not be as reliable a source. Another difficulty is the nature of experts. In this case it is difficult to ascertain who the true expert is, as one has the medical knowledge to come to a conclusion yet lacks historical knowledge, while the other has the reverse issue. Montefiore is not a MD, he has to rely on the medical casebook, how is he in a position criticize or choose sides? Additionally, the idea of medical history is still in its infancy. Whether its Churchill’s heart attack or Roosevelt’s polio, there is no certified profession or school for Medical Historians, and thusly it is hard to evaluate the legitimacy of Farias viewpoint. We cannot say how someone’s frailty influenced someone’s decisions The nature of the material is questionable due to the legitimacy of the doctors accounts can also be called into question and makes it difficult to come to a concrete conclusion. A main issue is the presence of archival data, that can no longer be drawn upon, all too often I was led to believe that after the fall of the USSR the archives were open and in fact, today are pretty closed.


Bibliography (Alphabetical)

1. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Gulag Archipelago (New York: Harper and Row, 1973), 126-127.

2. Askew, William C. “Review: The American Historical Association's Guide to Historical Literature.” The Journal of Modern History, 1 Sept. 1962, Page. 723-25

 3. Brent J and Naumov VP. Stalin’s Last Crime — The Plot Against the Jewish Doctors, 19481953. New York, NY: HarperCollins; 2003, p. 31222

4. Casse, Alexander Hugo, and Simon Sebag Montefiore. “Was Stalin Murdered?” 15 Sept. 2017.

5. Glover, Jonathan. Humanity: a Moral History of the Twentieth Century. Yale University Press, 2012. Page 250

 6. Faria, Miguel A. “The Death of Stalin – Was It a Natural Death or Poisoning?” Surgical Neurology International, 30 July 2015.

 7. Faria, Miguel A. “Stalin's Mysterious Death.” Hacienda Publishing, Hacienda Publishing, 14 Nov. 2011,

8. Montefiore, Simon Sebag. Stalin: the Court of the Red Tsar. Phoenix, an Imprint of Orion Books, 2014. Page 580

9.. Pipes, Richard. “The Fourth Greatest.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 17 Apr. 2004,

10..  Primary Interview with SSM, March 23 2017.

11. Richardson, Rosamond. Stalin's Shadow. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1994, p. 248

12. Unknown, director. Stalin's Last Supper - Timewatch - Who Killed Stalin - BBCBritish Broadcasting Company, British Broadcasting Company, 18 Sept. 2009,

13. Volkogonov D. Stalin--Triumph and Tragedy. In: Shukman H, editor. 1st ed. NY: Grove Weidenfeld; 1991. pp. 571.

14. Volkogonov, Dmitri. Stalin: Triumph and Tragedy. New York: Grove Weidenfeld, 1991, p. 57


Example II

Was Stalin’s Death a Result of Beria’s Poisoning?

Plan of the Investigation
∙Subject of the investigation
This investigation aims to figure out if Stalin’s death on 5 March 1953 was due to Beria’s poisoning.
It will explore the sequence of events that occurred during the last days of Stalin and after his death by combining accounts from several eye-witnesses and will also elaborate on his health condition up to his death. Then in section C, two sources, one from Molotov, a Politburo member, and another from contemporary medical bulletin in Pravda stating opposite argument would be evaluated. In section D, a conclusion will be drawn upon whether Stalin died because of Beria’s poisoning.

Summary of Evidence
∙Stalin’s Condition Before 1953
Stalin was going through deterioration in his health since his minor strokes before 1953. From 1951 to 1952, however, he refused to take any medication and yet his high blood pressure, arteriosclerosis and rheumatism were all developing.[1]
∙The Final Stroke that Led Stalin to His Death
On the night of February 28th, Stalin watched a film at the Kremlin, and returned to his dacha where he was joined by Beria, Khrushchev, Malenkov and Bulganin, who stayed until and left at 4:00 A.M, Khruschev and Bulganin separately, while Beria and Malenkov together in a car.[2] Then the guards received an order from Stalin through Khrustalev, which was to go off duty.[3] Up to the evening on the next day, there was a complete silence, which led to a suspicion within the guards, who were yet afraid to counter Stalin’s order and go into his suite.[4] Eventually, Pyotr Lozgachev, one of Stalin’s bodyguards, went into his suite at 22:00[5] and found the crippled Stalin lying on the floor. Next to him was his broken pocket watch showing 6:30 and there was an open bottle of mineral water on the table.[6] The guards were called in by Lozgachev and they helped him move the Boss to the sofa. The guards called Ignatiev, the Minister of State Security, who referred to Malenkov and Beria.
∙The Response of the Politburo Members
Malenkov called Beria, Bulganin and Khrushchev to inform about the guards’ report of Stalin’s physical state.[7] It was thirty minutes after Starostin called when a call came from Malenkov, saying that he could not find Beria. Another thirty minutes later, Beria rang the guards to tell them not to inform anybody about Stalin’s illness.[8]  At 3:00 A.M., Beria came into Stalin’s dacha with Malenkov[9], glanced at Stalin and swore at the guards, telling them that Stalin was asleep and therefore they should not panic or disturb him.[10] He prohibited any use of the telephone and left the place.[11] Around 8 in the morning Khrushchev came into the dacha, telling the guards that he summoned doctors, who arrived between 8:30 and 9:00 A.M.[12] with artificial ventilation which, unknown for what reason, was not used.[13]
∙The Doctors’ Examination
 Stalin’s symptoms were due to brain hemorrhage caused by his hypertension and atherosclerosis[14] but the doctors also concluded that Stalin was poisoned and they tried to treat him for poisoning while at the same time did not expose this fact to other people, including the four Politburo members.[15] Stalin’s condition got worse as the time went by.[16] On March 4th, besides the symptoms involving the skin on his face, legs and arms turning blue and his liver being enlarged, his blood and urine examination results proved that he was poisoned.[17] In the morning of March 5th, Stalin vomited blood which led to a decrease in his blood pressure and several times of collapse on the same day.[18]
∙Stalin’s Death
Stalin eventually died at 9:50 P.M., after going through a severe hardship with breathing.[19] 
∙After Stalin’s Death
        Beria ran out to the corridor, calling Khrustalev to get his car to go to the Kremlin.[20] After a while, the other Politburo members went to the Kremlin as well, to acquire power.[21] Then the car with stretcher arrived to carry Stalin to the hospital for embalming and Khrustalev went to the hospital as well.[22]  The guards who served Stalin were to be eliminated from their jobs, so Starostin, Orlov and Tukov went to see Beria and resist but Beria’s threat of killing them made them to depart immediately.[23] Other jobs were given to the guards except Khrustalev who fell ill and died soon.[24]
Evaluation of Sources
Source 1
CHUEV: Beria himself was said to have killed him.  MOLOTOV: …‘Sometimes he seemed about to come to. At those moments Beria would stay close to Stalin. Oh! He was always ready...  One cannot exclude the possibility that he had a hand in Stalin's death... he did drop hints…"I did him in!...I saved all of you!" ’[25]  This source could be valuable in supporting the conviction of Beria as Stalin’s assassinate, referring to its origin, which is the interview of Molotov, to whom whom the suspect, Beria, talked to in person. The exact quotation from Beria, together with Molotov’s witnesses of his mysterious behavior which made Molotov believe that “he was always ready” to harm the Boss, elevates the convincing aspect of the argument. The main value of this source could be that the statement was from Molotov, the contemporary Politburo member, not a historian.  However, it should be in consideration that the book was published in 1993, which is far after Stalin’s death, and the source’s origin, to be more precise, is Chuev, who interviewed Molotov. His interview question seems to be a guiding one, as Molotov says “Oh!” indicating his realization right at that time. It arises the possibility of Chuev trying to use Molotov’s words to support his opinion and the publish date which makes this source too modern also undermines the reliability of the source because it was after when the theory of Beria’s planned murder of Stalin had been introduced. Molotov says that Beria dropped “hints” through his words but one cannot absolutely ensure if Beria really meant that he poisoned Stalin tactfully or simply contributed to Stalin’s death with some delay in summoning doctors.[26] He seems to be creating a distorted characterization of Beria with some words that would have been not as intricate or Machiavellian to support his argument. 

Source 2
“Arteriosclerosis, which developed during the night of March 1-2 on the basis of hypertonia and cerebral hemorrhage in his left brain hemisphere, has resulted, apart from the right-side paralysis of limbs and loss of consciousness, in impaired stem section of the brain, accompanied by disturbances of the vital functions of breathing and blood circulation.”[27]  Unlike Source 1, this source originates in the contemporary newspaper articles from Pravda and contains medical reports with specific diagnoses of Stalin’s health conditions, not human judgment from a particular political member. The source could be appreciated for containing factual descriptions of Stalin’s health and as it involves nothing about Stalin being poisoned or symptoms related to it, it strongly denies the idea that Stalin was poisoned by Beria before his death.  On the other hand, this is not an official medical report from the doctors but an announcement from the Soviet government. Pravda, as a national paper published by the Soviet government, was famous to the public for being biased and inaccurate.[28] The possibility of the manipulation made in the Politburo members’ favor cannot be excluded. Therefore the source, in spite of medical facts, lacks accuracy and the strong negative impression that Pravda gave to the contemporary society prevents one from judging Stalin’s condition totally based on such report.

To figure out if Stalin died because Beria poisoned him, it is important to start considering the possibility firstly by exploring the events around Stalin’s death. After the four Politburo members left Stalin’s dacha at 4, it was Khrustalev, not Stalin himself who talked to the guards about going off duty.[29] Beria, among the four guests, being the closest with Khrustalev[30] suggests that he ordered Khrustalev to let the guards vacate. In addition, the fact that other guards got substitute jobs but Khrustalev, the only guard who was allowed to see Stalin being embalmed, fell ill and died raises a question if this was one of Beria’s efforts to expunge evidence that could prove him guilty.  When Lozgachev went in, he saw a bottle of water next to Stalin. Why was this bottle not sent to the Stalin Museum from the Kremlin sanitary department when it had to send medicaments and empty mineral bottles in November 1953?[31] Was it because it contained the poison that killed Stalin? The very possible scenario in Stalin’s suite on March 1st during the hours between 4 A.M. and 10 P.M. is that Khrustalev put poison in Stalin’s water bottle while all the guards were back at home by Beria’s command.  Beria had been delaying in his response to the guards and when he came to Stalin’s dacha with Malenkov at 3 o’ clock, he swore at the guards and left the place immediately but forbade their use of communication line.[32] According to Khrushchev, Malenkov called him right after the guards called and he thought the visit from all four Politburo members around 8 o’clock was the first visit from all of them but it was the second one made by Beria, which Khrushchev did not know.[33] He was trying to hide Stalin’s condition and his awareness of it from others.  After Stalin’s death, Beria went out immediately to Kremlin, where he assumed authority and this, together with all his suspicious behavior before Stalin’s death, conveys the idea that Beria, with his strong motive of gaining power, took advantage of Stalin’s health to kill him with poison and achieve what he wanted.
On the other hand, there are counter-arguments that defend Beria. As Medvedev argues, for years, Stalin denied taking medication so his death could have been nothing more than a corollary of his long-term diseases.[34] But this argument now seems to be nominal as all the symptoms due to poison written in the official medical records were exposed. The doctors knew Stalin was poisoned and that was why they did not use the artificial ventilation, which was not useful. The absence of such facts in articles from Pravda, controlled by the Soviet government, does not argue against conviction of Beria but supports it by explaining why the reports in Pravda were falsified: Beria killed Stalin and he had enough power to manipulate the facts about Stalin’s symptoms.  Yet blaming Beria with asperity for power, seen after Stalin’s death, is quite unreasonable because he did not try to appoint himself as the President but Vice-President.[35] If Beria is to be blamed for such motive, then why not other people like Vasili Stalin, who despised his father and suffered humiliation after Stalin forfeiting his authority or Khrushchev, who was the successor of Stalin after all?
Shortly, the argument stating Stalin died because Beria poisoned him gets supports from Beria’s suspicious behaviour, his relation with Khrustalev, and the recently-discovered official medical reports. The opposite argument arises from that Stalin’s death was the result of neglected delayed treatment and that there are other possible suspects.

Certainly, there are a variety of supporters of the argument that convicts Beria as the assassin using poison to kill Stalin.[36] On the other hand, their argument is depreciated by the facts that Stalin’s health was already on a rapid wane and that there are other possible suspects including his family members and the Politburo members. However, with recently discovered official medical reports corroborating Stalin being poisoned and Beria’s possession of the closest contact with the guards including Khrustalev, this argument seems to have a sizeable amount of evidentiary support. To conclude, Stalin died because he was poisoned by Beria.

Alliluyeva, Svetlana. Twenty Letters to a Friend. New York: Harper & Row, 1967.
Brent, Jonathan. Naumov, Vlamidir. Stalin’s Last Crime: The Plot Against the Jewish Doctors, 1948-1953. New York: HarperCollins, 2004.
Chuev, Feliks. Molotov Remembers: Inside Kremlin Politics. Chicago: I. R. Dee, 1993.
Committee on Slavic Studies. The Current Digest of the Soviet Press. Cambridge: American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies, 1953.
Conquest, Robert. Stalin: Breaker of Nations. London:Penguin, 1992.
Deriabin, Peter. Inside Stalin's Kremlin: An Eyewitness Account of Brutality, Duplicity, and Intrigue. Washington [D.C.]: Brassey's, 1998.
Deriabin, Peter. Watchdogs of Terror: Russian Bodyguards from the Tsars to the Commissars. Westport: Greenwood Publishing Group, 1984.
Eaton, Katherine. Daily Life in the Soviet Union. Westport: Greenwood Publishing Group, 2004.
Radzinsky, Edvard. STALIN: The First In-Depth Biography Based on Explosive New Documents from Russia's Secret Archives. London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1996.
Richardson, Rosamond. Stalin’s Shadow. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1994.
Medvedev, Zhores. Dahrendorf, Ellen. The Unknown Stalin. London: I.B. Tauris, 2006.
Taubman, William. Khrushchev: The Man and His Era. New York: Norton, 2004.
Volkogonov, Dmitri. Stalin: Triumph and Tragedy. New York: Grove Weidenfeld, 1991.
Who Killed Stalin, DVD. Directed by Tim Robinson. UK: BBC Timewatch, 2005.
Pravda.Ru, “Secret documents reveal Stalin was poisoned.” Pravda.Ru (December 29, 2005),
[1] Zhores Medvedev and Ellen Dahrendorf. The Unknown Stalin (London: I.B. Tauris, 2006), 1.  [2] William Taubman. Khrushchev: The Man and His Era (New York: Norton, 2004), 236.  [3] 'Well, guys, here's an order we've never been given before,' and he repeated the Boss's words. It was true, in all the time I worked there that was the only occasion when Stalin said 'go to bed.' Khrustalev quoted by Lozgachev, another guard who was on duty. Edvard Radzinsky. STALIN: The First In-Depth Biography Based on Explosive New Documents from Russia's Secret Archives (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1996), 550.  [4] ‘At 19:00 the silence in Stalin's suite began to alarm us. We (Starostin and Tukov) were both afraid to go in without being called.' –quoted from testimony of Starotsin. Ibid, 550  [5] Dmitri Volkogonov, who was the first to include witnesses of Stalin’s death in a book, based on Rybin’s account, stated in Stalin:Triumph and Tragedy(Grove Weidenfeld,1991) that Starostin found Stalin lying on the floor after a stroke. However, Radzinsky, who read the unpublished memoirs of Rybin— Stalin’s bodyguard who resigned in 1935 but was informed about Stalin’s last days by the guards who worked at that time –in the Museum of the Revolution, proved Volkogonov’s statement about Starostin wrong; it was not Starotsin but Lozgachev.  [6] By Lozgachev’s account "I hurried up to him and said 'Comrade Stalin, what's wrong?' He'd, you know, wet himself while he was lying there. He made some incoherent noise, like "Dz dz". His pocketwatch and copy of  Pravda were lying on the floor. The watch showed 6.30. That's when it must have happened to him." Who Killed Stalin, DVD. Directed by Tim Robinson. UK: BBC Timewatch, 2005.  [7] Khrushchev quoted in Radzinsky, 554  [8] Ibid, 554  [9] Ibid, 555  [10] Dmitri Volkogonov. Stalin: Triumph and Tragedy (New York: Grove Weidenfeld, 1991), 572.  [11] Rosamond Richardson. Stalin’s Shadow (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1994), 248.  [12] Lozgachev quoted in Radzinsky, page.556. But according to Richardson, it was not Khrushchev but Beria who called the doctors, from the Academy of Medical Sciences.  [13] “The unwieldy thing was just standing there idle…” Svetlana Allilueva. Twenty Letters to a Friend (New York: Harper & Row, 1967), 7.  [14] “The Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and the U.S.S.R. Council of Ministers announce a great misfortune which has befallen our party and our people-the grave illness of Comrade J. V. Stalin.” U.S.S.R. Council of Ministers, “GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCEMENT — On the Illness of Comrade Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin, Chairman of the U.S.S.R. Council of Ministers and Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union” Pravda(1953): 1. English translation in Joint Committee on Slavic Studies. The Current Digest of the Soviet Press (Cambridge: American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies, 1953), 4. There were five articles published by Pravda and Izvestia from March 4th to 6th all of which repeat brain hemorrhage but none of which mentions about Stalin being poisoned.  [15] “Secret documents reveal Stalin was poisoned.” Pravda.Ru, (2005),  [16] “It was on March 3 when Stalin's doctors registered that condition of the patient grew even worse and heart activity got weaker. Next day, March 4, the condition of the patient grew extremely grave because of frequent respiratory standstills.” Ibid.  [17] Poisoning results in hemoglobin’s transformation into methemoglobin displaying dark color. Ibid.  [18] Ibid.  [19] “The death agony was terrible. He literally choked to death as we watched.” Robert Conquest, Stalin: Breaker of Nations (London: Penguin, 1992), 312.  [20] Allilueva, 7.  [21] “Beria proposed that Malenkov be President of the Council of Ministers and Malenkov proposed that Beria be named Vice-President and Minister of Internal Affairs and State Security.” Peter Deriabin. Watchdogs of Terror: Russian Bodyguards from the Tsars to the Commissars (Westport: Greenwood Publishing Group, 1984) , 27.  [22] Lozgavchev’s account quoted in Radzinsky, 559  [23] ‘“If you don't want to be out there, you'll be down there.” And he pointed down to the ground.’—Beria quoted by Lozgachev. Ibid, 560.  [24] Ibid, 560.  [25] Feliks Chuev. Molotov Remembers: Inside Kremlin Politics (Chicago: I. R. Dee, 1993), 237.  [26] “Stalin had lain untreated for over 24 hours; it was 10 hours since he had been found. Beria now ordered doctors to be summoned from the Academy of Medical Sciences” Richardson, 248.  [27] American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies, 4.  [28] Katherine Eaton. Daily Life in the Soviet Union. (Westport: Greenwood Publishing Group, 2004), 270-271.  [29] Radzinsky, page. 552  [30] Beria hired the guards (Chekists) and he particularly called Khrustalev, not just any guard, when leaving to the Kremlin immediately after Stalin’s death. Allilueva, 7.  [31] Pravda.Ru.  [32] Richardson, 248.  [33] Radzinsky, 554.  [34] Medvedev, 1.  [35] Deriabin, 27.  [36] Historians Radzinsky, (STALIN: The First In-Depth Biography Based on Explosive New Documents from Russia's Secret Archives), Brent (Stalin's Last Crime: The Plot Against the Jewish Doctors, 1948-1953‎), Deriabin (Inside Stalin’s Kremlin: An Eyewitness Account of Brutality, Duplicity, and Intrigue  ), a contemporary Politburo member Molotov (Molotov Remembers), all interviewed witnesses involving progenies of the Politburo members and Stalin’s family members (The Last Mystery of Stalin) argue that Beria killed Stalin.