3 Funeral of Stalin And How Soviet People Recollect That Day

Funeral of Stalin And How Soviet People Recollect That Day

Posted on March 10, 2019 by team


66 years ago, on March 6th, all Moscow was burying the Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the USSR, General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, generalissimo of the Soviet Union, leader and teacher, Great Helmsman and father of the people Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin (Dzhugashvili). According to the official version, he died late on March 5th from cerebral hemorrhage.

The Moscow radio informed people about his death early on March 6th.


Then, in 1953, the news was perceived by Soviet people in different ways, in most cases when they tried to describe their feelings people mentioned such words as “confusion”, “frustration”. Some of them didn’t hide tears. But in families, whose members were repressed, reigned a feeling of triumphed justice and discreet joy.

Due to opposing attitudes towards the Soviet leader many conflicts appeared among students. Some preferred to ignore the funeral of Stalin, but paid last respects to composer Sergey Prokofyev who passed away on the same day.


Only prisoners did not hide their happiness, they believed it meant amnesty in the near future for them, time showed they were right.


The body of Stalin was demonstrated in the Pillar hall of Unions in Okhotny Ryad, Moscow, where people waited a funeral of Lenin in 1924. The leader was put into an open coffin that stood high on the pedestal among bright plants and flowers. Beria came to say last goodbye too, but someone didn’t like this fact and tried to remove him from those memorable photos with ink (photo above).


This is how ordinary people commented on the funeral of Joseph Stalin:

Sergey Agadzhanyan, student: “We came up to the coffin. A wild thought came to my mind – I have never seen Stalin and now I will. A few steps away. I didn’t see full members of the Politburo at that moment, only ordinary people. But nobody cried. They looked frightened – by the death and the crowd. Maybe they did not cry because of fright. That was fright combined with curiosity, lostness, but not grief, not mourning”.


The farewell in the Pillar hall lasted three days and three nights. The funeral itself began on March, 9th at 10:15 a.m. when the first leading politicians of the country left the House of Unions with the coffin. The coffin was mounted on the weapon cradle and the procession moved towards the mausoleum. 4400 lined up soldiers and 12000 workers were already waiting on red Square. By the way, the funeral was arranged by Nikita Khruschev, the following head of the Soviet State.

Funeral cortege. Beria, Malenkov, Molotov and others pretended to carry the coffin. The job was actually done by officers moving between them. They carried the coffin on their shoulders. The role of Stalin’s comrades was mostly symbolic.


Manezh Square – the procession was moving towards Red Square to the music of Сhopin. It took them 22 minutes to get to the mausoleum. The mourning rally began on Red Square at 10:45.


Not only Soviet but also foreign prominent leaders were standing on the mausoleum that morning. President of Czechoslovakia, the devotee of Stalin, who was there too, got a bad flue and, when he came back to Prague, he died from aortic rupture. Some Czechoslovaks believed him to be poisoned in Moscow.



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3 Responses to “Funeral of Stalin And How Soviet People Recollect That Day”

  1. Douglas says:

    I was 8 years old and saw my little sister almost crushed to death in a huge parade crowd. Then a big strong man lifted her up on his shoulders and saved her. It can happen.

    Fascinating photos of a disaster because of bad planning.

  2. tom bauer says:

    I would have thought most Russians would have celebrated his death. Maybe later.

  3. Alper says:

    And finally the world could breath again normally!

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