The Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions." --American Statesman Daniel Webster (1782-1852)

Monday, September 1, 2014

Stalin.... and his use of body doubles.....

I ran across this article reading another historical magazine, and figured I would expound upon it.   I knew for a long time that Stalin had employed "doubles" to guard against assassination, and to do things that he didn't want to do.  Here is a picture of Stalin visiting Berlin.

The truth of the matter was that this was reenactment in 1949 and that wasn't Stalin.  Stalin never went to Berlin as I understand it.  he had a fear of flying and used trains exclusively, for his meeting in Potsdam and in Yalta. 
Mikheil Gelovani

In 1938, Gelovani first portrayed Stalin in Mikheil Chiaureli's The Great Dawn. His performance won him the Order of the Red Banner of Labour on 1 February 1939 and the Stalin Prize during 1941. Afterwards, Gelovani "established a monopoly on the role of Stalin", which he continued to portray in twelve other pictures until the premier's death.Gelovani greatly resembled Stalin physically, except in his stature: he was much taller than the latter. Reportedly, he was not the premier's favorite candidate for depicting himself on screen: since he was Georgian, he mimicked Stalin's accent "to perfection". Therefore, the leader personally preferred Aleksei Dikiy, who used classic Russian pronunciation. However, Gelovani appeared in his role much more than Dikiy. According to the The Guinness Book of Movie Facts and Feats, Gelovani had probably portrayed the same historical figure more than any other actor. When the two met, the general secretary told the actor: "you are observing me thoroughly... You do not waste time, do you?"
Soviet cinema played an important part in cultivating the leader's cult of personality: from 1937 and onward, in a gradual process, Stalin's reign was legitimized by depicting him as Vladimir Lenin's most devout follower[ and by positively presenting historical autocrats - like in Sergei Eisenstein's Ivan the Terrible.

Due to his identification with Stalin, Gelovani was barred from playing other roles in cinema; he was not allowed to depict "mere mortals." From 1942 to 1948, he was a member of the cast in the Gorky Moscow Art Theatre. During World War II, the personality cult was abandoned in favor of patriotic motifs, but returned already at the war's late stages, and with greater intensity than ever after 1945: Stalin was soon credited as the sole architect of victory. In the postwar films in which he portrayed him - The Vow, The Fall of Berlin and The Unforgettable Year 1919 - Gelovani presented the leader as "a living god."
The actor was awarded three more Stalin Prizes, all of which were granted for his performances of the premier in film: in 1942 for The Defence of Tsaritsyn, in 1947 for The Vow and in 1950 for The Fall of Berlin. On 3 June 1950, he was given the title People's Artist of the USSR.
After Stalin's death in 1953, Gelovani was denied new roles in films, since he was completely identified with the character of the dead ruler. From 1953 until his death in 1956, he acted in Moscow's State Theater for Film Actors. Andreas Kilb wrote that he ended his life "a pitiful Kagemusha" of Stalin. Gelovani is buried in the Novodevichy Cemetery, alongside his wife Ludmila.
Following Nikita Khrushchev's Secret Speech in 1956, most of the pictures he appeared in as Stalin were either banned or had the relevant scenes removed.

This is a clip of the Soviet Propaganda film that was used to help create this cult of personality around Stalin as the patient father figure....despite the gulags, the NKVD terror raids and other things he did to totally subdue Russia.  it was almost a "Stockholm Syndrome". type of effect that he had.

Felix Dadaev (left) in the 1940s and the real Joseph Stalin (right).
Rumors circulated in Russia for decades that Joseph Stalin had a “twin” who replaced him during certain situations. After decades of rumors, finally Stalin’s decoy decided to talk. Felix Dadaev, a former dancer and juggler was ordered to the Kremlin to work as Stalin’s body double. For more than half a century, Dadaev remained silent, fearing a death sentence should he dare to open his mouth. But in 2008, at the age of 88, and with the apparent approval of the Putin regime, he finally came forward to write his autobiography. Dadaev’s autobiography explains that he was one of four men employed to impersonate the supreme leader, taking his place in motorcades, at rallies, on newsreel footage etc.
Dadaev was born in the Caucasian highlands of Dagestan and when his family moved to Grozny, in Chechnya, he began taking ballet lessons. When the Second World War started, he was required to fight and was so badly injured during the Soviet liberation of Grozny in 1942 that his family was told he had been killed. He was one of seven corpses delivered to a hospital, but he and another guy were still alive. Fortunately, he got better, though that “death” was the start of a strange double life. Soon his resemblance to 60-year-old Stalin (which got him teased in school) caught the eye of Soviet intelligence agents, who started using him to save the real Stalin from assassination plots and lame public ceremonies.

Even Stalin’s closest comrades couldn’t spot the imposter.

Just into his 20s, Dadaev was a great deal younger than Stalin, but make-up and the strain of war meant that he could pass as a 60-year-old. “We had all experienced so much suffering that I looked much older than I was”, Dadaev said. Trained at the personal request of Stalin, Dadaev attended rallies and meetings across Soviet Union wearing the leader’s trademark Red Army cap and heavy overcoat encrusted with medals. He watched movies and speeches of Stalin to perfect the mimicry of his movement and intonation. Some say that Dadaev, like other Stalin’s body doubles, was trained by Alexei Diky, an actor who played the role of Stalin in propaganda films.

Felix Dadaev in his military uniform.
In an age before media dominated, he didn’t have to mimic perfectly Stalin’s vocal inflections, just his look and mannerisms. And he pulled it off so well even Stalin’s closest comrades couldn’t spot the imposter. “By the time my make-up and training were complete, I was like him in every way, except perhaps my ears. They were too small”.
Interesting facts:
  • Another Stalin’s body double was a man identified only as “Rashid”. Rashid so closely resembled the dictator that when he joined the army he was dismissed almost immediately. Even his facial scars nearly matched the Soviet leader’s pockmarks from a bout with smallpox. He spent two years studying with Alexei Dikiy. Rashid claimed there were other Stalin lookalikes employed by the NKVD (predecessor of KGB), although he never met any. He claimed to have heard of another Stalin double who was hired to live in the dictator’s dacha outside of Moscow in the late 1940s and 1950s when Stalin was dying. After Stalin’s death in 1953, Rashid moved to a provincial city and shaved off his mustache and gradually became bald. Yet even then the resemblance proved so striking that he often received stares on the street, they were afraid that the dictator had gone into hiding with them.
  • A man who looked so much like Josef Stalin
    that he was hired to sit in for the Soviet dictator
    at meetings and banquets has died in the southern city
    of Krasnodar. He was 93. The newspaper Rabochaya Tribuna
    identified the Stalin double only as Rashid and said without
    explaining further that he died "several days ago."

    Later Rashid made a career as Stalin’s double. Officials
    at the KGB heard of his adventures at the Army recruiting office and
    eventually tracked him down. Rashid spent 2 years studying with Alexei
    Dikiy, an actor who played the role of Stalin in films. But Rashid's role was to
    play Stalin "live," at public functions such as banquets. (Was Dikiy jealous?
    Or too busy playing Stalin in the movies to play him in real life?)
    No mention is made in the obituary of the role Stalin
    played in his hiring, if any, or if Rashid was ever
    allowed to meet or study the man he was to impersonate.
    He may have been taught to impersonate by Stalin’s first impersonator,
    and by images of that impersonator on the silver screen.

    There are also other doubles mentioned in the obituary,
    doubles multiplying into quadruples and more. It’s not
    at all clear what the total number of Stalin’s doubles actually was (were?).
    Rashid never met with any other Stalin lookalikes except Dikiy,
    but he told of another Stalin double who was hired to live
    in the dictator's dacha outside of Moscow in the late 1940s
    and 1950s when Stalin was dying. This double filled in
    for Stalin for media events and other times when Stalin
    had to meet government functionaries and others.
 I was unable to find any photo's of "Rashid"
Perhaps some of the "Official" photo's of Stalin were of him...I don't know.


  1. That's some very interesting stuff. Going to share your link about this if you don't mind.

    1. Hey Momma Fargo;

      I would be honored;)