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Historama, December 23

Published time: December 29, 2009 15:47
Edited time: December 29, 2009 15:47

"Sleeping with the leader does not mean having the exclusive right to him." This may sound like a line from a soap opera, but in fact, these were the words of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin. But who where they addressed to?

Stalin’s offensive words to Lenin’s woman

On this day in 1922, Joseph Stalin had a phone conversation with Nadezhda Krupskaya, the wife of Vladimir Lenin, and insulted her with a series of extremely rude comments.

Krupskaya was already an ageing, unattractive woman, while Lenin’s popularity with women was common knowledge. So Stalin once jokingly suggested to Krupskaya to abstain from her excessive political work and to focus on mending her family life instead.

To make things worse for Krupskaya, upon hearing about the story, Lenin himself couldn’t but laugh.

The outraged Krupskaya thereafter became Stalin’s enemy, and she did her best to hold back his political advancement. This is just a part of the story, and you can read more on our Russia Now section.

Introducing "Ilya Muromets" fighter jet

It bears the name of an epic Russian hero and its first flight was the start of Russian long-haul aviation. The Biplane bomber "Ilya Muromets" soared to the skies on this day in 1913.

It was one of the world's best fighter jets at that time, having its own machinegun and even a cannon.

During World War I, a group of these bombers joined Russia’s air force and conducted more than 400 flights.

Today, December 23 is celebrated as the day of Russian long-haul aviation forces.

Prosecuting Stalin’s top official

Lavrentiy Beriya, the right hand of Stalin, was prosecuted on this day in 1953.

Beriya was the chief of security and secret police and by the end of the Great Purge became the head of NKVD, the organization directly responsible for political repression in Stalin era.

He even carried out a purge of NKVD itself and, some believe, poisoned Stalin. After Stalin's death Beriya gained even more power, but soon fell out with his political rivals, who ordered his arrest and execution.

Read more about this day in history on Russia Now