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File:Василий Сталин, 1942 год.jpg

Vasily Stalin, 1943.

Vasily Iosifovich Stalin (Russian: Васи́лий Ио́сифович Ста́лин; 21 March 1921 – 19 March 1962), born Vasily Iosifovich Dzhugashvili (Russian: Васи́лий Ио́сифович Джугашви́ли), was the son of Joseph Stalin by his second wife, Nadezhda Alliluyeva.

Early life[]

The death of Vasily's mother in 1932 (eight years after his father ascended to General Secretary) represented a major change in Vasily's life. Starting from this moment, Joseph Stalin ceased to visit his children; only the nursemaid and head of Stalin's security guards looked after Vasily and his sister, Svetlana. One officer, Sergei Efimov, was charged with continuously looking after the two children.

Military service[]

Vasily started his active military service in the 16th Fighter Aviation Regiment in Moscow. Here he met Galina Burdonskaia, his future wife. They married when Vasily was 19.

As an officer of the Red Air Force, Vasily received rapid promotion. At the beginning of World War II, he was Inspector of Air Forces in the General Staff. In December 1941, he was a Major and after a couple of months was promoted to Colonel. In January 1943, Colonel Vasily Stalin was designated commander of the 32nd Guards Fighter Aviation Regiment. During February and March 1943 he carried out 26 armed sorties. On 5 March he shot down a Fw 190. He claimed another German aircraft soon after.

He was promoted to Major-General in 1946, to Lieutenant-General in 1947, and to Commander of the Air Forces of the Moscow Military District in 1948. However, he was dismissed as a result of an aviation incident during a military parade on 27 July 1952 (Vasily insisted on letting the planes fly in bad weather, leading to one Tupolev Tu-4 bomber crashing).

Vasily Stalin was also the President of the USSR Air Force ice hockey team. In 1950, most of its members died when its plane went down in a snowstorm as it approached the Sverdlovsk airport. Vasily, worried that his father would be angry, is said to have concealed the crash from his father and quickly replaced the deceased players.[1].

Arrest and imprisonment[]

After his father's death, a long period of troubles began for Vasily. Less than two months after his father's death (5 March 1953) Vasily was arrested on 28 April 1953, because he revealed top-secret information during a dinner-party with foreign diplomats. He was charged with denigration of the Soviet Union's leaders, anti-Soviet propaganda and criminal negligence. The judicial investigation was conducted by one of the most brutal prosecutors in the Soviet Union,[according to whom?] Lev Vladzimirskii. During the investigation, he confessed to all of the charges, even the most fantastical ones. Shortly afterwards, in December 1953, the prosecutor and his boss Lavrentiy Beria were executed as a result of a power struggle between Stalin's successors.

Vasily Stalin asked the new Soviet leaders, Nikita Khrushchev and Georgy Malenkov, for clemency but he was considered a dangerous person,[according to whom?] and he was judged in a behind-closed-doors trial and was not allowed legal representation. He was sentenced to eight years' imprisonment and disciplinary work. He was imprisoned in the special penitentiary of Vladimir under the name "Vasily Pavlovich Vasilyev". He was released from prison on 11 January 1960. The Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union decided to give him a pension of 300 rubles, a flat in Moscow, and a three-month treatment vacation in Kislovodsk. He was also granted permission to wear his general's uniform and all of his military medals.

Vasily Stalin died on 19 March 1962, due to chronic alcoholism, two days before his 41st birthday.[2]

Vasily Stalin was partially rehabilitated in 1999, when the Military Collegium of the Supreme Court lifted charges of anti-Soviet propaganda that dated from 1953. His body was re-buried next to his fourth wife in a Moscow cemetery in 2002.

In popular culture[]

In the film My Best Friend, General Vasili, Son of Joseph Stalin, Vasili Stalin is portrayed by actor Vladimir Steklov.


  1. Ellen Barry and Andrew E. Kramer, "Crash wipes out elite Russian hockey team, killing several veterans of the N.H.L.", The New York Times, 8 September 2011, page A6.
  2. Wassilij J. Stalin, Munzinger, Archiv, Ravensburg

External links[]

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