DETROIT (Jul. 18)
Joseph Stalin died 14 years ago of a rage caused when the Politburo opposed his proposal that all Russian Jews be expelled to Siberia, the Detroit News reported today from Washington. It attributed the information to a secret State Department report. The News claimed the report came from a Soviet defector who received the information from Anastas Mikoyan, who witnessed Stalin’s death — according to the report. Mikoyan was First Deputy Prime Minister.
The story alleged that Stalin called a secret Politburo meeting to announce a campaign against the Jews. He said measures should be taken to deport Jews en masse to Biro Bidjan in Siberia. Stalin was quoted as saying “the Jews will be kept hermetically isolated there. They never will be able to come out.”
Mikoyan is said to have objected saying that the Communist movement abroad would lose support and Stalin would be continuing Adolf Hitler’s policies. Lazar Kaganovich, only Jewish member of the Politburo and Stalin’s brother-in-law, tore up his party card and threw the pieces in Stalin’s face, said The News.
The report said that Stalin then turned purple with rage. Mikoyan reportedly told Stalin the Red Army had been told to encircle the Kremlin if the Politburo members did not leave within an hour after entering. The story said that Stalin then ordered Lavrenti Beria, secret police chief, to arrest “all the scum here.” Beria refused and announced his support of Mikoyan.
Stalin rose from his chair, according to the account, began screaming incoherently and fell unconscious. An hour later, physicians pronounced him dead. A few days later, Politburo members picked Mikoyan to take over but with less power than Stalin possessed.