[An awkward, but verbatim English translation of the original Russian article run by the Russian “Komsomol’skaya Pravda” newspaper on April 3, 2008; translated by Dimitri Khalezov, the author of the “9/11thology” research about the WTC nuclear demolition]
3 April 2008.
Stalin’s double is alive!
The first interview of a classified “understudy” of the leader after 55 years of silence. For many years scientists and historians fought over the issue: was there a double of Stalin? Rumors circulated that the Generalissimo used to have even several doubles. But who they were, in which cases were they used to substitute for the leader, and whether or not they existed in reality? And, if “yes” – what happened with them afterwards?
Classified as “top secret”
So far all talks remained in the realm of conjecture and legends. And suddenly, by chance we obtained not only the confirmation that Stalin had a double, but – the real, live double of his! This man modestly lives in Moscow and has never told anyone about this fact of his biography. He signed a non-disclosure contract and remained silent for over 50 years!
“Komsomolka” [D.K.: an affectionate nick-name of the “Komsomol’skaya Pravda” newspaper since the Soviet times] found a man (left on the photo), which stood on the Mausoleum and read speeches instead of the Father of Nations [D.K. “the Father of Nations” was one of Stalin’s honorific titles]. Photo: RIA “Novosti”
People’s Artist of the USSR [D.K.: it is the highest possible honorific title that could be bestowed upon a distinguished theater- or movie actor in the former USSR] Felix Dadaev dared not to utter a word even to his own wife and children about his secret and very dangerous role. He was silent in order to save his life. Till the year 1996, all information about the double was classified and only a few secret service operatives knew about his existence. In 1996 the archives were de-classified and the ban was removed. Only then the members of his household learned about the awful secret – yet they long refused to believe it! But then his photos (on which he was one in one like Stalin) “rained in” from special authorities – these photos were being returned to the double. The sensational fact of his biography was formerly noted only in his personal file, being kept in a secret KGB’s card index, but now ended up in the official biography of Felix Gadjievich Dadaev, a Lieutenant-General, a World War II veteran, a Hero of Socialist Labor, a professor, an academician, a chevalier of the order “Gold Star Glory of Fatherland” and that of many other awards.
In the published Ministry of Defense’s encyclopedia “Soldiers of the XX century” it is said about Dadaev (volume 2, page 326), verbatim: “And yet another unique touch to the biography of Felix Gadjievich: in 1996 it was de-classified that the actor for a long time used to be filmed in the newsreel as… a double of I.V. Stalin. It was so done, of course, with the knowledge and consent of Iosif Vissarionovich [Stalin] himself. Possessing a unique formal resemblance of the leader, Dadaev used to read his speeches, imitating his voice…” [D.K.: “Iosif”, in the Western tradition “Joseph”, was a given Christian name of Stalin; “Vissarionovich” was his patronymic, referring to his father “Vissarion”; in the Russian Christian tradition (and actually in Muslim tradition too) it is still proper to refer to a man, and especially to address a man by a combination of his given name + patronymic; Dadaev too is often called here by his given name + patronymic only – i.e. “Felix Gadjievich”]
Even though after the “top secret” classification from that part of his biography was removed, the double did not crave for publicity – the sense of caution is in his blood. As he admits, sometimes even he himself can not believe that he managed to survive. “I once again survive that reality that I am alive!” – he wrote in his poetry. The only thing I permitted myself was to touch the old secret in the autobiographic book “Country-stage”, which was published by the Ministry of Interior’s publishing house by a small edition. I put into that book some authentic verses and feuilletons, memoirs about meeting with legendary personalities, described stages of my career, my rich creative biography – as an actor, dancer, illusionist, entertainer, conversational genre’s actor, who used to perform with best-known numbers in 62 countries of the world! And merely casually, without much detail – mentioned Stalin. He [Dadaev] obtained special approvals from the corresponding authorities to publish these particular chapters.
Dadaev had never given interviews. We, correspondents of “KP” [D.K.: “KP” is short for “Komsomol’skaya Pravda”], were extremely lucky. We became friends of the charitable fund “Pride of the Fatherland”, which helps war veterans, awards the order “Pride of Russia” to distinguished heroes-intelligence officers, generals of the army, of the FSB. On one of the gala events of the Fund [held] at the Foreign Ministry, a female-employee of the Academy of the Problems of Security, Defense, and Law and Order, Victoria Lazich, quietly brought us to Dadaev, saying in secret: “Here, in front of you, is the real double of Stalin!” Only after persuaded by his personal friends – Victoria Lazich, and Georgiy Trapeznikov, a Doctor of Historical Sciences and the Russian Academy of Sciences’ academician – Dadaev signed for us a gift copy of his book and agreed to converse. It is worth a separate description – how we took the interview from him. We had to get from him the sensational details bit by bit. Yet, this legendary “Silent” refused to reveal many secrets – he told that is too early to mention certain things, and some other things – are impossible to mention whatsoever…
Ears’ shape could betray where is real Ioseph Vissarionovich [Stalin] (he is on the left photo), and where is his double Dadaev (on the right photo). But nobody paid attention to these niceties.
How [did you] became a double?
- My real name is Gazavat (Gazi), meaning a “fighter for the faith”; while the name Felix I took during the war in a memory of a commander, who died in my hands, – tells Felix Gadjievich. [D.K.: “Gazavat” is an equivalent of the well-known Arabic “Jihad”; it means a “Holy War against infidels”; this word was used in Turkic- and Caucasian Islamic world until very recent in that particular sense; “Gazi” indeed meant a “fighter for the faith” in the earliest days of Islam, but in the later times this word acquired a meaning of a “rebel”.]
Gazi was born in 1926 in a mountain village Kazi-Kumukh in Dagestan and started to work while still being a boy: was a shepherd, learned from his father a tinsmith’s trade, mastered goldsmith craft. But his main passion was dancing. When his family moved to Grozny [D.K.: capital of Chechnia] Gazi together with a friend Makhmud Esambayev [D.K.: the most prominent Soviet Chechen actor and dancer; an English Wikipedia article is available on this person] took lessons from a choreographer. When he moved with his family to Ukraine, he performed in the ensemble “Lezginka” [D.K.: a name of a famous Caucasian dance], and in 1939 Gazi was spotted on the North-Caucasian Arts Olympics and invited to the State Singing and Dance Ensemble of the Ukrainian SSR. The ensemble was packing for a tour to London, and was looking for a performer of Caucasian dances, who could dance on his tip-toes. The choice fell on Dadaev. During the war he found himself in the front-line concert brigade at the 132nd division. Serving there together with Dadaev were Yuri Timoshenko and Efim Berzin (front-line scenic names “Galkin” and “Mochalkin”, later – “Tarapun’ka” and “Shtepsel’”), Yan Frenkel’ (then a drummer), and Mark Fradkin (a concertmaster and pianist). [D.K.: all of these were famous actors and musicians, well-known to Soviet- and post-Soviet public]
Fame of Dadaev – a dancer, juggler, parodist, magician, and actor – spread around the front-line brigades and reached army’s generals.
“Vatutin, Rokossovskiy, Malinovskiy [D.K.: Soviet top military commanders during WWII, well-known to public] – all of them loved art and especially [loved] our front-line brigade” – recollects Felix Gadjievich. Sometimes it happened that the actors, too, were obliged to take to assault rifles. Dadaev even participated in reconnaissance missions – thanks to information, delivered by him, our troops managed to blow up a bridge, so that the Germans were cut off and the Soviet troops entered the city of Cherkessk. He was awarded with combat honors. After yet another wounding in 1942, a notification of his death was sent to his home.
- Seven corpses were thrown to a hospital[‘s morgue], but it was found that two men were still alive! One of them was me, – narrates Dadaev to “KP”. – I still keep that notification of death. All those war years my relatives counted me as killed in action.
Dadaev survived – that was God’s will. While the notification of his death, perhaps, was very convenient for secret service’s officers, who prepared for the young hero a special task, which was, probably, riskier than the bombings and the reconnaissance missions.
The point was that all who saw Dadaev noted his unique resemblance with Stalin himself.
- In my young years I strongly resembled the leader of all times and nations, to the extent that some mountaineers used to tease me and called me “Soso” [D.K.: “Soso” was a well-known nickname of Joseph Stalin]. I pretended to be angry at this, but deep inside my soul I was proud that I resembled the great father of nations! – tells Dadaev. It is not known when and who exactly got the idea to train Dadaev as the double of the leader. But in 1943 security officers revealed their interest in the unique soldier… After one performance he was approached by men in civil dress, who without any explanations sent him by a special secret flight to Moscow. He was lodged in one of [their] country houses [Russian “dacha”] and wine-and-dined. And only then the NKVD [D.K.: “NKVD” was a predecessor of the KGB] officers explained what they wanted from him.
Many did not know about the existence of Stalin’s double. Dadaev (right photo) was tested with different makeup, hairstyles; they made test photos, trying to reach the maximal similarity with the leader (left photo). Someone would say: [further text was missing here under the missing photograph in the web page]
How did they prepare?
- Felix Gadjievich, how did they prepare you as a double?
- Here are, – the actor gets and shows photographs where he is depicted in Stalin’s image, but with different hairstyles and moustaches, – they made test photos, seeking the precise resemblance. This picture was rejected – Stalin could not have been that gaunt. (To achieve the resemblance Dadaev was obliged to gain as much as 11 kilograms! At first, they wanted to make custom dress for him, resembling Stalin’s one, but later allowed him to borrow from the leader’s real wardrobe – Author’s note). This photograph was too a reject, I don’t look here too much like Stalin. And [here] Koba could not have been that much unshaven [D.K.: “Koba” was another well-known nickname of Joseph Stalin]. And on this shot they did not even bother to plaster a tattoo on my hand – it was clear that this photograph was not to be shown.
- Yes, and indeed you have tattoos on your hands!
- The tattoos were plastered.
- On the first glance it looks incredible that a young chap became a double of the leader, who was then over 60!
- I endured so much suffering that I looked much older than I really was. I became adult too early.
- Did they apply an old-age makeup?
- That time there was no plastic makeup like the ones available nowadays. A make-up artist worked on me. But he could not be with me every day. So, I learned how to make “smallpox” to myself [D.K.: Stalin’s face was pockmarked]: first I applied a brown, like suntan tone, then took an ordinary female brush with metal teeth, and pressed it hard into my face; the result was deep “pocks”. When makeup dried, I powdered my face. All day you would walk in such a state, but in the evening you would wash it away. But the most important was to copy behavioral manners, gait, and voice.
Felix Gadjievitch’s jacket could scarcely contain the entire “iconostasis” of orders and medals awarded to him for different feats. And his biography was included in “Soldiers of the XX century” encyclopedia.
Dadaev was trained over the course of several months: for hours they scrolled to him footage with Iosif Vissarionovich [Stalin], told him to perfect gestures, movements, intonations. He was trained under supervision of instructors and officers of the NKVD.
“…Semblance astonished many, but sometimes I “overdid” and then the imitating began to look as a dangerous parody. Later I achieved the absolutely normal semblance in the behavior and in the voice imitation”, – recollects the double.
All this time in that year 1943 Dadaev used to have conversations with the civil-dressed security officers, who instructed him how he should behave in the everyday life. He was prohibited to communicate with his relatives. At the same time he signed the non-disclosure contract. But even without signing it, I would unlikely risk telling anyone about my “job” – tells the actor; his life began to resemble a drama titled “Silence is golden”.
- Look at this. Who it is? – asks Dadaev extracting from his pocket a photo on which we see Stalin.
- This is Stalin! Exactly like in history books! – we tell.
- No, it is me! – declares Felix Gadjievich pleased with the effect created.
We discovered that many books and mass-media featured the parade leader’s portrait, where in reality, it was Dadaev!
Iosif Djugashvili in his youth (on the left photo) and Felix Dadaev (on the right photo).
[D.K.: “Djugashvili” was a surname of Joseph Stalin while “Stalin” was not a “surname”; it was rather a “nom de guerre” or something akin to laqab in ancient Arabic names, which does not belong to a person in his young age; it is acquired at the age of maturity]
- Actually, I and Soso had the 100%-semblance in every aspect! I resembled him in the height, and in the voice, and in the [form of] nose (the height of Dadaev – 170 cm, that of Stalin – 172 cm, the small difference was leveled off by heels. - Edit. note). Only ears (Dadaev’s lobes of the ears are accreted with head, but those of Stalin were sticking out and his ears were a bit bulging - Edit. note) they had to make over like those of the leader. Which is, by the way, not too difficult a process. The ear was glued over with a sticky gutta-percha patch of a flesh color. At the latter’s expense the auricle became deeper and acquired a certain semblance with the original. After that, a few various ear-patches were added, splices were powdered up, and the “lugs” of comrade Stalin were ready – recollects Dadaev.
- I will reveal you a secret: to distinguish an original from the double is possible by the ears. They are all different in different people, like the fingerprints. I didn’t even know it before! – tells Dadaev (by the way, even with the help of plastic surgery it is not possible to reproduce an identical auricle, cartilage, lobe; that is why in the forensic science they use the ears to recognize those criminals who changed their appearance through surgery. -Edit. note).
About meeting Stalin
According to Dadaev’s confession, his semblance with the leader was gauged personally by Stalin. Firstly – by the photographs. But one day the met… Here is what Felix Gadjievich writes in his book:
“…[Much] later, already in the ‘50s, rumors began to circulate, originating from the same treacherous KGB’s ranks, that somewhere, allegedly, must have been, or still is a double, and not just one. Then later someone of them confirmed that he either perished or died. But after the death of I.V.Stalin all of them became quiet, and only in 1955 someone from among historians popped up talking about a certain mountaineer, an unknown actor, who was verily trained [a word is used here that only applies to training animals, but not men] in the Master’s dacha [D.K.: the “Master” was another Stalin’s title, though this was an informal one]. Every scribbler fantasized the best he could master… But in reality all that scribble and fiction about how Iosif Vissarionovich [Stalin] received me and how, talking to me, he spent a long time, examining my resemblance, is a typical journalistic nonsense. I have never been at the leader’s dacha. I have never talked to him, or to be more precise, he never talked to me in the dacha… And when it comes to our rehearsals, yes, they used to take place, but they were not with I.V.S. [Stalin], but only with one “film director” and with two secret service officers… I so much lived into that image that I was ready for any eventuality. But from the event of the single long-awaited meeting, I could remember nothing, except a smile of Iosif Vissarionovich [Stalin], and, as I perceived it then, his heavy approving nod. That was all our “conversation”. And, though, I was in the state of shock, of course, I mastered all my courage to utter the three words “Madlob, didi madlob!” [D.K.: means “thank you, thank you very much” in Georgian language; Stalin’s ethnic nationality was Georgian]. The entire historical meeting at the leader’s reception room lasted not over five minutes. And in a secret card-index of the KGB and in the archive of the “Mosfilm” [D.K.: the number one Soviet cinematographic organization primarily responsible for state newsreel] for the rest of his life appeared a record: “Dagestan, G.G.F. Dadaev.” [D.K.: “G.G.F.” here apparently refers to the initials of Dadaev’s name, patronymic, and new name – i.e. “Gazavat Gadjievich Felix”.]
Felix Gadjievich concealed that he was the leader’s double from both – his wife Nina (on the left) and from the family’s friend Victoria Lazich (she was the one who introduced the “KP” correspondents with Dadaev).
- Felix Gadjievich, and were there other Stalin’s doubles? – asked me from Dadaev.
- Stalin had four doubles. Koba feared assassination attempts. There were so many spies around! That is why all [his] trips were planned very diligently. For example, everybody knows: Iosif Vissarionovich [Stalin] is being driven, let’s say, to the airport, or to a certain city. But in reality, a double walks out from the Kremlin, gets in the car. People see him and they think that this is Stalin himself. But real Stalin this time quietly rides by a totally different road. And only those who planned that operation know about it. Even from Kuntsevo [D.K.: a location of Stalin’s “nearer” dacha] to the Kremlin there were two roads! So, I used to participate in this kind of attention-distracting trips as Soso’s double.
- And did you meet other doubles of Stalin?
- I can not tell about that.
- Did you understand that any of your appearance in Stalin’s image might become your last?
- Of course... Today it appears as something from the realm of fantastic that the double is [still] alive! It was even announced [then] that I was executed by a firing squad! [That was] to prevent others searching for me…
- Were you afraid?
Dadaev went quiet and it looked that his eyes became wet. He held a pause like Tikhonov’s hero Stierlitz [D.K.: a well-known Soviet spy personage played by a famous Soviet actor]. Then he smiled. And slightly lifted his jacket’s laps. On his belt we saw a holstered pistol. “This is just in case!” – he raised his index finger.
- Dada even today thinks about his security, thanks to the ingrained habit; he fears attempts on his life, – later explained to us one of his friends. – He actually survived, because he is very careful. I know that he used to study in an intelligence school during the war. The security officers noticed him for the task of substituting Stalin. He told me that he used to read speeches on the radio in Stalin’s stead during the war.
- And did he see Beria [D.K.: a fearful chief of the Soviet security and secret police apparatus]?
- Of course! Beria participated in training the doubles for Stalin.
Stood in the Mausoleum instead of Stalin
According to Dadaev’s close friend, the first stage of his cooperation with the secret services in the role of the double was to appear in the given place, attract attention to himself (for example, walk out of the Kremlin and get into a car). The second stage was more complicated: to appear in Stalin’s stead in public (for example, to appear in front of party comrades, on parades). Dadaev was successful in all such tasks.
- Felix Gadjievich, they say that during a parade on the Red square you stood on the Mausoleum instead of Stalin?!
- Yes. In his stead I walked during the parade on the Red square with [Stalin’s] comrades and [also] stood on the Mausoleum.
- And what that parade was devoted to?
- To the Sporty Day!
(Dadaev himself does not mention the exact date – due to his old habit [he] does not want to declassify historical details. Most probably it was the parade of 1945, because during the war such a parade on the Sporty Day was conducted only once – in 1942, when Dadaev was still on the front-line. A recording [of that Sporty Day parade] on a motion picture film is being kept in the Russian State archive of cinematographic- and photo documents. -Edit. note) [D.K.: it was indeed the 1945 event; it was confirmed. Funny enough, on that Sporty Day’s parade where Dadaev impersonated Joseph Stalin, in addition to usual Stalin’s colleagues, were present two very special honorary guests – a five-star general Dwight D. Eisenhower, the future 34th President of the United States, and the then U.S. Ambassador in Moscow W. Averell Harriman – they stood very close to Dadaev. A video of the said parade, showing [fake] Stalin, and his comrades and foreign guests stood on the Mausoleum is available, for example, here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H_8ycmW-GFA
Here are several screenshots from that video of the 12 August 1945 Sporty Day parade, a/k/a “Soviet Athletes Parade 1945”, inserted by me:
“Stalin” walking from his Kremlin office towards the Red Square and “Stalin” standing on the tribune of the Mausoleum.
Honorary foreign guests at the 1945 Sporty Day’s parade: U.S. Ambassador William Averell Harriman (on the left photo) and the future U.S. President General Dwight David “Ike” Eisenhower (on the right photo); to his left, in a white military uniform (standing between him and “Stalin”) – not unknown Lavrentiy Pavlovich Beria, the former chief of Stalin’s NKVD.
Taking into consideration that the event was held less then a week after the atomic bombings of two Japanese cities, Felix Dadaev must have a lot to discuss with the high-ranking U.S. visitors…
“Stalin” among comrades and foreign guests on the tribune of the Mausoleum, greeting passing columns of sportsmen. Beria is between him and General Eisenhower.
“Stalin” during that August 1945 parade with a child. Here Dadaev most likely overdid – he obviously forgot that real Stalin’s left hand was severely damaged (shortened and stiffened at the elbow) and that unlikely his doppelganger could lift a child in such a manner.
End of my insertion. D.K.].
- So, when columns of sportsmen walked by and waved to Stalin on the tribune [of Mausoleum], in reality they waved to you? And no one from among the comrades from the Central Committee [of the Communist Party] standing around knew about the substitution?!
- Only those knew who worked on that [plan]. All the rest were sure that it was real Stalin. That parade was recorded on a motion picture film. Seven minutes of that footage were often shown on the television. And one day, on a festival – it was Koba’s [Stalin’s] 120th anniversary, I was then awarded “Order of Stalin” (named, with the number) – [film] director Rostotskiy (and he even when was still a boy was engaged in newsreel and knew about me) stood up and said: “Listen, the newsreel, that you have just seen, that one I just stopped, and on it was this man – Gazi Dadaev!” Oh, what then happened in the cinema hall! You could lose your mind! The veterans were in a state of shock. And I, in the military uniform, stood and started to sing: “Here are soldiers who walk by the scorched steppe…”
On [that] parade it was decided to “examine” the double, [to gauge] how he would manage to comport himself in the presence of the big number of men and movie cameras, if his nerves would fail, if he would betray himself by a wrong gesture? And those who were responsible, then had to review with bias the footage of that real parade, in order to decide – if it was possible to entrust to the double more difficult tasks. After all, later Dadaev was several times shot in newsreel instead of the leader, read in his stead speeches, and even communicated with various delegations…
It is needless to explain, that in case of any fluff the destiny of the double might have been very tragic – right up to the firing squad… How that parade was conducted, Dadaev wrote in his book “Country-stage”, in a chapter “Testing on the Kremlin road”.
Participated in the operation “Tehran-43”
A responsible job fell to Dadaev’s lot – to perform in the “departure” of the Head of the USSR to Tehran to a summit of the leaders’ trio. [D.K.: three heads of states comprising the anti-Hitler’s coalition – Stalin, Roosevelt, and Churchill met in Tehran in 1943.]
- They designed that there would be two flights. One of them – a distraction. At that one I participated, tells to “KP” Dadaev. – I, in an image of Stalin, at the scheduled time got into a car, and under the guard I was driven to the airport. They have never written about it anywhere. I am telling you this for the first time. This was done for a reason that Stalin (or to be exact his copy, i.e. me) caught the eye (of foreign intelligence services - Edit. note).
But the genuine item – real Stalin – was already there, in Tehran. [D.K.: the actual secret delivery of Joseph Stalin to Tehran in 1943 was (and remains) one of the most classified secrets; even today nothing is known about how Stalin appeared in Tehran, but only speculations of various “historians” claiming “to know something”.]
No, I was not in Tehran. I was only driven till the airport and that was it.
In order to distract attention from the real Stalin. (As it was explained to us by a friend of Dadaev, in Tehran, Stalin was substituted at times by his second double, who, perhaps, was inside the plane at that airport where Dadaev was driven to.)
- And still, despite all these precautions and tricks, there was an attempt on Stalin’s life?
- Yes-yes, it was. Two of them!
- Meaning that in Tehran [the assassins] targeted the real one, but not his double?
- Yes, [they] managed to select him. It was the intelligence of ours that failed to perform. And, by the way, seven heads of security officers rolled for that [assassination] attempt.
In the next issue of our weekly we will narrate how Dadaev went in Stalin’s stead to a theater and some other unique details from the career of the leader’s double.
[D.K.: there was no promised follow-up to this story ever published; however, a video where Lieutenant-General F. Dadaev narrates how he used to go to theaters instead of Joseph Stalin, is available; for example, here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pDFObUJl4dU
Here I insert a screenshot from it. It also states Dadaev’s military rank as a “Lieutenant-General” (visible on the subtitles in Russian language below his name):
Above – Felix Dadaev in his military uniform, featuring an insignia of a “Lieutenant-General”.
[D.K.: the original Russian text does not contain any description under the above photo, but it appears to be a front cover of the book “Страна-эстрада”, i.e. “Country-stage”, or “Country-estrade”, depending on how you would translate its title, authored by Felix Dadaev.]
FROM DADAEV’S BOOK
“…The first “trip”, meaning “testing on the roads” was conducted in the Kremlin, right in front of the colleagues closest to the leader. It would be stupid to remind [a reader] that that risky “spectacle” was staged by bold “directors” originating from all the most fearful committees and was strictly confidential!..
...How to adjust a copy of the state’s main hero? That it would be precise, as in the real life?! I don’t know in whose exact head that idea first came to, but the responsibility for that was, of course, born by some big head. After all, in the scheduled filming we had to do everything in the natural manner, and, what was the most important, we must deceive those who stood nearby and those who knew what was the leader in reality, without those various niceties added by those various film-makers. I was not really worried by all those niceties. And then, perhaps, I did not yet fully understand the entire responsibility. A risk was tremendous, fear was not any lesser in all those having something to do with this directive. All were shivering, even at the very top narrow level you could feel the shivers. When it came to me, I was strictly instructed in private conversations, where all “film directors” were convinced regarding my strict sense of civil duty. The most important was – to try to conduct the first test meeting (with members of the government. – Aut. note) in silence, as if the leader was not in a mood for conversations, but, if it happens to say anything, do so laconically, of course, in the voice of Iosif Vissarionovich [Stalin]. This was, perhaps, the easiest, calm task. When it comes to the height and voice, there was nothing to worry, it was exact and tested a long time ago. The important was the semblance of exact details: face, grey hair, gait. From conversations a few surnames remained in my memory – Khrustalev, Soloviev. [D.K.: Khrustalev Ivan Vasilievich was a relatively well-known NKVD operative from Stalin’s entourage; he is particularly known because it was actually him, who was on duty in Stalin’s dacha at the moment of Stalin’s death 5 of March 1953.]
After a sleepless night they drove me, ready, to the Kremlin to 9.00 and handed me over to the sole man, who was aware of the secret operation and knew what to do next. I was ushered to Poskrebyshev [D.K.: chief of Stalin’s personal chancellery and his de-facto personal secretary]. He was not tall, sullen. His astonishment and a light confusion immediately betrayed his emotions. He immediately made a phone call, smiling, and then General Vlasik [D.K.: chief of Stalin’s bodyguards] appeared; this one was completely dumbfounded, but after a pause he shrugged and nodded approvingly. Everyone was silent, as if during an audience with the “real one”. After that the General very carefully examined my grey tunic and coat, paid attention to my slightly bent left hand [D.K.: Stalin’s left hand was damaged], for not so clear reason took a glance at my boots, and at my trousers slightly hanging over bootlegs. After that, still not saying a word, paid attention to an imitation of stained teeth (Stalin smoked a lot, while Dadaev did not, that is why they especially yellowed his teeth. -Edit. note). I was waiting for him to notice my glued grey temples and feared he would notice these, since [those days] there was no makeup of that kind available yet. Besides a bit tanned face and marks of smallpox masterfully sprinkled into the cheeks.
The entire secret scenario was visibly simple – to walk together with the members of the government to the Mausoleum, to stay there a bit in the center, on a slightly elevated pedestal, and, sometimes, to smile and to greet by a gesture columns of demonstrators passing by the Mausoleum. And, what was very important – in the “testing” on the way back to remember about the gait, because it was often different… That time it was interesting, but today I can’t even recollect this without fear. How could it all pass?! I distinctly remember, at those filming minutes my confidence was reinforced by the very first seconds, when I went out to encounter a group of the government members, already standing at the doors; I noticed that they immediately stood to attention when they saw a greeting gesture of my raised hand that was too familiar to them. I greeted all of them at once, and we walked to the Mausoleum. I don’t know what those [Stalin’s] colleagues felt, because I did not see their faces, I was trying to keep slightly ahead of them, but by a glance and a light smile of one known “comrade”, walking by the side, I understood: all was fine, so far there were no doubts or suspicions. The parade, the festival, the sun[ny day], and the fact of the best KGB show went successfully! I will not talk here about further “tests” of that kind… I would mention only that they were very interesting when it comes to the second meetings with some very interesting personalities of the country and the world. Some witnesses are still alive.”
END of the original text published by that edition of the “Komsomol’skaya Pravda”.
D.K.: I am obliged to add some of my comments. First of all, the publication of this information in one of the most popular Russian newspapers caused an unprecedented scandal both in Russia and abroad. The issue of look-alikes is indeed very sensitive – those who pull the strings behind the curtain do not like their subjects to even think about this, even when it comes to the body doubles used by hateful dictators in bygone days. Not surprisingly, the name of Felix Dadaev was hardly mentioned in any Western publication. Not even a Wikipedia article in English exists on him, despite his being quite a prominent man, bearing the title of the "People's Artist of Russia" and the rank of the Lieutenant-General of the Russian FSB/Soviet KGB, moreover, being a professor in the latter's Academy.
Of course, no follow-up story was ever published and the already published part of the story was promptly denounced and debunked by some “experts” hurriedly dispatched by the Russian government. The “debunkers” also seized the opportunity to use Dadaev’s own displeasure with this publication, using Dadaev’s own words to attack the “K.P.” article. Dadaev himself was too pissed off with it because it seems that the text of this publication was prepared without his approval, it was written in a very clumsy language, and it contained a lot of factual, if not grammatical errors and misquotations. For example, Dadaev apparently described two different occasions of his participating in parades in the guise of Stalin – one in 1945 Sporty Day parade, where he was in the white military uniform and in lace-boots, and the very first, “testing” occasion where he was in the grey dress and top-boots (the occasion where astonished General Vlasik saw him for the first time and silently examined his attire). The scribblers managed to mix the two events into one.
The quality of the modern Russian journalism degraded immeasurably if compared with what used to be the Soviet journalism. It applies to all – the method of presenting the information (that also inevitably betrays the level of respect of the journalist to the mental abilities of his auditorium), the quality of the information presented, and the language used to present it. Even the Russian language itself suffered an unacceptable degradation over recent two decades. Actually, even formerly respectable central newspapers were effectively reduced to the level of cheap tabloids, using corresponding language. And this state of affairs greatly annoys elder people who got used to the high standards of the journalism in the Soviet Union and to the proper language. So, the reaction of Felix Dadaev on this article was by no means surprising.
However, even he expressed his extreme displeasure with this publication, Dadaev has never denied the facts of his biography revealed by it. He actually confirmed them.
And, despite the factual errors in its text (such as mistaking the 132nd battalion of special NKVD troops with the 132nd [rifle] division), this article does not leave any doubt as to the fact that Felix Dadaev indeed served as one of Stalin’s doubles. Dadaev revealed such details of his work that no scribbler would ever be able to imagine, even if that scribbler had the sickest possible imagination.
The case is clear. Dadaev was indeed one of Stalin’s doubles, he indeed worked in this capacity for several years, he indeed was bound by a non-disclosure contract (and feared for his life, in addition), and indeed, finally, the formerly secret information was de-classified, leading to his revelations.
There is absolutely no doubt that 98% of information presented by this article is true. Moreover, it is easily verifiable. Dadaev, after all, has published a book of his own, his biography is indeed included in an officially published encyclopedia “Soldiers of the XX century”, sponsored by the Russian Ministry of Defense, and, in addition to all of it, he is simply a well-known actor, dancer, comedian, professor, and… a KGB general. What else do you need to believe that Stalin has doubles?
By the way, Felix Dadaev was not the only known Stalin’s double. There was another well-known Stalin’s double, actually his “double No.1”, Evsei Lubitskiy, a Ukrainian Jew. There was another one, known only as “Rashid”, an uneducated peasant from North Caucasus, and one more – Khristofor Golshtab, another Jew, and yet another one – Georgiy Saakian, an Armenian, one of Stalin’s first doubles, no longer used after the war. Lubitskiy was particularly known in the West because his name and his role as Stalin’s double were betrayed to the Western intelligence services back in the ‘50s by some defector (if you remember Dadaev mentioned above some “treacherous” folks from the KGB ranks). In addition, Lubitskiy used to give interviews and they were published too. There are quite a few videos (unfortunately, only in Russian language so far) available on YouTube dealing with Lubitskiy’s role as the double of Stalin, and quite a few printed publications.
Anyway, to make sure that the reader would not doubt that the above publication indeed took place in April 2008, I insert below four screenshots showing that “Komsomol’skaya Pravda” newspaper with the article on Dadaev and with some of his photos. So, you could judge yourself whether it is true or not. The screenshots are from Russian NTV, which was promptly set at the “K.P.” publication trying to “debunk” this highly seditious info, but in reality only attracting to it an undue attention:
Above: four screenshots from the NTV video showing the disputed “Komsomol’skaya Pravda”.
Below: Stalin (real Stalin). A photo by General Vlasik; from Vlasik’s personal collection:
I hope you will find my translation bearable. At least, I tried my best to make this stuff interesting. So, don’t blame me for its being clumsy, because the original Russian language I was translating from was even clumsier.
April 17, 2015.