THE TERRIBLE FUNERAL OF STALIN
Stalin’s funeral on March 9, 1953 was the largest and most tragic in the history of Russia and the USSR. But for a number of reasons, they are now trying, if not to forget, then to remember them less often.
Thousands of people moving to the House of Unions from all over Moscow tried to restrain the soldiers. Trucks and detachments of mounted militia were put up, but this only intensified the crush. There was a massive pandemonium within the Boulevard Ring. People were squeezed from all sides, and the people stayed and stayed, aggravating the situation. The majority of people have accumulated in the Trubnaya Square area. Petrovsky, Rozhdestvensky, Tsvetnoy Boulevards, Neglinnaya and Trubnaya Streets connect at this point. Someone started a rumor that the easiest way to get to Bolshaya Dmitrovka is through the Pipe. And people rushed there.
For some reason, the sight of the crowd did not frighten anyone. This can be explained by the mentality of the Soviet people, who are used to crowding in the heats, in trams, at rallies. Muscovites made their way across the roofs of houses, climbed under police horses, ducked under trolleybuses, squeezed through barriers of hefty Studebakers. They climbed, scrambled, dented and as a result choked in the crowd.
In Trubnaya Square, two narrow passages to Neglinka were fenced off by heavy military trucks to limit the flow of people. These passages along the line of houses on both sides of the square were also curved with the letter «G». There the people mostly choked.
The crowd tore down fences and gates, smashed shop windows, but the most terrible thing happened inside it. People were squeezed so that they could not do anything anymore. The sea of people lifted them off the ground and carried them, squeezing their ribs and lungs to the point of pain, making it seem impossible to breathe. Who tried to get out, climbed over their heads or climbed a lamppost. But he broke down, found himself at the bottom and was mercilessly trampled. The way to the Pillared Hall turned into a struggle for survival. But very many did not survive. The death toll is not known, no official statistics on this matter were conducted. On the contrary, the authorities tried to carefully hide the size of the tragedy. But eyewitnesses told terrible things. About how hundreds of galoshes and shoes were lying on the deserted streets, lost by people, like traces of some grandiose massacre. About morgues filled with crushed people. About the fact that many of the dead were secretly buried outside the city in mass graves so that the world would not know about the scale of the tragedy.
It can be assumed that the death toll was in the hundreds, if not thousands. An analogy with Khodynka suggested itself. Only that one happened when the tsar ascended the throne, and another monstrous crush happened when the Soviet head of state lost the throne due to death.
For more information, see the article in Russian «Stalin’s Funeral».