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
The ending credits of the film show photographs being airbrushed, removing certain people in the photographs. In "Veep" (Season 2, Episode 4), which also created by Ianucci, Gary Cole's character argues with Julia Louis Dreyfus' character over editing a photograph, stating that he could not airbrush the photograph; that he was not Stalin. See more »
The film implies that the plane crash that killed many of the Russian Air Force's hockey team that Vasily coached was recent. However, it happened in January 1950, three years before Stalin's death. 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 »
There's no avoiding truths rapidly passed over in this depiction of chaos following the death of an evil dictator. Stalin had charm...to those who were not his subjects and were never a threat to his authority. He fooled many so-called intellectuals in the West but everyone around him knew the truth, and, most managed to tip-toe over eggshells in order to stay alive. To thrive in such an environment requires a certain kind of callous ruthlessness...perfectly depicted with suitable crass humour here. The cast is perfectly chosen...each very accomplished actor adding their particular star dust. There's more than a single sittings' content in this film which deserves another viewing. Impressive and engaging story-telling based on real life events. Bravo all.
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