Kuntsevo Dacha

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Coordinates: 55°43′27.61″N 37°29′07.24″E / 55.7243361°N 37.4853444°E / 55.7243361; 37.4853444

External images
Views of the dacha and Stalin's furniture, including the couch where he died

The Kuntsevo Dacha was Joseph Stalin's personal residence near the former town of Kuntsevo (now part of Moscow's Fili district), where he lived for the last two decades of his life and died on 5 March 1953, although he also spent much time inside the Kremlin, where he possessed living quarters next to his offices. The dacha is located inside a forest not far from the modern-day Victory Park.[1]

The so-called "nearer dacha" (Ближняя дача) was built in 1933-34 to Miron Merzhanov's designs. One storey was added to the original building in 1943. It was in Kuntsevo where Stalin lived during World War II. It was there that he played host to such high-profile guests as Winston Churchill and Mao Zedong.[1]

The Soviet leader seldom left his study, let alone visited the second storey (although a lift was installed on his orders). There was a sports ground for playing gorodki.[1] Its defenses included a double-perimeter fence, camouflaged 30-millimeter antiaircraft guns, and a security force of three hundred NKVD special troops.[2]

After Stalin's death the Marx-Engels-Lenin-Stalin Institute set up a commission to make arrangements for a Stalin museum at Kuntsevo.[3] Nikita Khrushchev discarded the idea, and the dacha stood unoccupied for several decades. The building is still shrouded in secrecy. The grounds are fenced and closed to ordinary visitors.

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