Secret History of Stalin’s Purge (114)

It did not take long for the Kremlin residents to stop seeing Bokor as a mere supplier of goods on demand. He began to be seen as someone who was familiar with the private Life of the Kremlin hierarchy, someone who had a lot of private details that would undermine the prestige of the “leaders of the international proletariat”. For example, Voroshilov, who was under the constant protection of Pauker’s men, would not have hidden from him his affair with a rising ballet star, knowing that it was with the help of Pauker’s magic wand that Voroshilov had just built his third villa, which was also reserved for the dancer. Also, another Politburo member banged an engineer’s wife. As a result, the engineer was sent to a psychiatric camp, while the wife of the very powerful Politburo member attempted suicide. In short, many sensational Family affairs took place right under the noses of the minions whom Paokel sent to protect these families. Thus, no matter how pretentious and pretentious the Politburo members were, they knew in their hearts that all this was worth a few dollars in the eyes of Paokel.

Bokor was even more unconventional with Stalin than with other senior Kremlin officials. He studied Stalin’s hobbies and learned to understand his most subtle thoughts. Finding out that Stalin liked to devour a lot of coarse Russian salmon, Pauker ordered tastier fish from abroad. This won Stalin’s heart. With Russian vodka and foreign dishes, Bokor made a name for himself and became a regular drinking buddy of the leader. Realizing that Stalin was fond of lewd jokes and anti-Semitic stories, Pauker collected material from all over the world and was always ready to provide Stalin with fresh topics. No one could compare with Paukel as a clown and a witty joker. Even Stalin, a gloomy and unsmiling man by nature, would laugh at his jokes.

Paulkor secretly observed that Stalin loved to look at himself in the mirror, often fixed his hair, and especially liked to stroke his moustache. He concluded from this that the leader was not the kind of person who did not pay attention to his appearance, but was no different from ordinary people in this respect. So, Paul Kerr himself went around for Stalin’s costume. In this respect, he showed a rare creativity. Seeing that Stalin wanted to “increase” his height and preferred high heels, Paulkor was determined to make his master a few centimeters taller. He invented a special kind of high heel for Stalin: the outer skin cleverly concealed part of the heightened heel. Stalin put on these boots and stood in front of the mirror, immediately beaming with joy. But he was not satisfied and instructed Paul Kerr to place a small square of wood on the spot where he would stand each Time he went to Lenin’s tomb. These tricks gave many people who could only see Stalin from a distance or from newspaper photos the illusion that Stalin was a medium-sized man. But in reality, he was only about 6’3″. In order to maintain this illusion, Paul Kerr had an extra-long military coat tailored for Stalin with a hem that reached the heels of his shoes.

As a former barber, Bockel took on the task of shaving Stalin’s face himself. Before this, Stalin never looked like he had a serious shave. This was because his face was covered with pockmarks, and his usual safety razor was difficult to shave the hairs in the hollows, and the residual scruff made his face look more bumpy; the barber’s razor Stalin did not dare to trust, so he had to tolerate his own shortcomings. Now there is finally Paul Kerr, for him, Stalin is completely trustworthy. In this way, Bokor became the first person who was allowed to put the blade of the razor to the throat of the leader.

Anything that had to do with Stalin and his family had to be handled by Bokor. Not even a small piece of Food could appear on the leader’s table without his permission. No one could enter Stalin’s house or dacha in the countryside without his permission. After sending Stalin to his office in the Kremlin at noon, he had to rush to the Operations Directorate of the State Political Security Directorate to report to Mininsky and Yagoda on the day’s events before he could talk to his friends about the latest news and rumors in the Kremlin.

Bokor was very talkative. Whenever I met him, I always saw him talking to people with great interest about what was happening on that Olympus.

“My hair is white with worry because of him!” Once Paokel complained to his deputy Volovich, “It is a great misfortune to have such a son!”

“Ah, I didn’t know you had a son.” I said, amazed by his words.

“No, no, I’m talking about the master’s oldest son,” he explained, “we had four plainclothesmen following him, still to no avail. In the end, it was the master who ordered him to be locked up before it was over!”

Bokor was referring to Yakov Zhugayevili, Stalin’s son from his first Marriage. Stalin hated this son, and this son answered him with the same hatred.

As he often carried out the most delicate matters entrusted to him by Stalin, Bokel almost became a member of his family. Indeed, Nadezhda, Aliluyeva was always cold and restrained towards him. But Stalin’s children, Vasily and Svetlana, liked him very much.