Felix Dadaev, a dancer and juggler who, amid the desperate defence against Hitler's invading armies, was ordered to the Kremlin to work as Stalin's body double. For more than half a century, Dadaev remained silent, fearing a death sentence should he dare to open his mouth.
But at the age of 88, and with the apparent approval of the Putin regime, he has finally come forward to tell a quite remarkable story. It takes him from the ruined streets of Grozny all the way to Yalta on the Black Sea coast for the historic three-powers showdown, where Stalin, Churchill and Roosevelt fought to determine the shape of post-war Europe. Dadaev's new autobiography explains that he was one of four men employed to impersonate the supreme leader, taking his place in motorcades, at rallies, on newsreel footage and wherever – as at Yalta – Stalin feared he was in particular danger.
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