Moscow, 1953. After being in power for nearly thirty years, Soviet dictator Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin (Adrian McLoughlin) takes ill and quickly dies. Now the members of the Council of Ministers scramble for power.
In early-1953 Moscow, under the Great Terror's heavy cloak of state paranoia, the ever-watchful Soviet leader, Joseph Stalin, collapses, unexpectedly, of a brain haemorrhage. As a result, when someone discovers his body the following morning, a frenetic surge of raw panic starts spreading like a virus amongst the senior members of the Council of Ministers, as they scramble to maintain order, weed out the competition, and, ultimately, take power. But, in the middle of a gut-wrenching roller-coaster of incessant plotting, tireless machinations, and frail allegiances, absolutely no one is safe; not even the feared chief of the secret police, Lavrenti Beria. In the end, who will prevail after the death of Stalin?Written by
Vyacheslav Molotov's (Sir Michael Palin's) wife Polina's (Diana Quick's) arrest and release is more or less consistent with the real events. Polina was arrested in 1949 on bogus charges and sentenced to five years of hard labor and got her freedom only after the death of Joseph Stalin. Molotov was forced to divorce her by Stalin during that time. She was used as a tool by Lavrenti Beria as depicted in this movie to secure Molotov's loyalty. They got remarried and lived together until her death in 1970. Even though their relationship seems sincere and lovely, Molotov never blamed Stalin or criticized him for the purges that led to the hardships his wife faced. See more »
Several inscriptions in English when actually should be in Russian ("Exit" sign over a door, execution list, flower arrangements during public display of Stalin's body). Potentially done on purpose. See more »
Black-and-white photographs of the main characters appear over the end credits, but various figures are airbrushed out, have their faces defaced, or have other people superimposed over them, as per Soviet photos of Trotsky and purge victims. See more »