Fifty years after Stalin died, felled by a brain hemorrhage at his dacha, an exhaustive study of long-secret Soviet records lends new weight to an old theory that he was actually poisoned, perhaps to avert a looming war with the United States.
That war may well have been closer than anyone outside the Kremlin suspected at the time, say the authors of a new book based on the records.
The 402-page book, ”Stalin’s Last Crime,” will be published later this month. Relying on a previously secret account by doctors of Stalin’s final days, its authors suggest that he may have been poisoned with warfarin, a tasteless and colorless blood thinner also used as a rat killer, during a final dinner with four members of his Politburo.
They base that theory in part on early drafts of the report, which show that Stalin suffered extensive stomach hemorrhaging during his death throes. The authors state that significant references to stomach bleeding were excised from the 20-page official medical record, which was not issued until June 1953, more than three months after his death on March 5 that year.
- Michael Wines for The New York Times