Stalin - Pride Of His People?

Stalin died 50 years ago this month. In his home country of Georgia his death and his life are remembered in a very different way from other parts of the former Soviet Union or the rest of his world. His statues still stand there, the first toast of an evening meal is often drunk to Stalin in his home town of Gori, he has many and various followers in the country who think of him of as a great Georgian, as well as a great dictator. But like elsewhere, his memory also prompts anger and tears. The historian Catherine Merridale journeys to Tbilisi and Gori to meet Stalin's Georgian heirs - his devotees and his surviving victims, his great grandson and the ninety year old teacher of English who saw her university classmates executed - and to try to understand how Josef Dzhugashvili, the son of a cobbler and destined for the priesthood, became Stalin - both the pride of his people and their worst ever torturer.

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