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Stalin’s Dead Sea Scrolls

crimea040208.jpg British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, President Franklin Roosevelt and Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin in Russian Crimea (now Ukraine) at the 1945 Yalta Conference, where the leaders discussed post-World War II organization of Europe. (AP / November 18, 1999) Today the Hartford Courant is running an interesting historical/academic piece about the launch of a $1.3 million online archive of Joseph Stalin’s personal documents undertaken by Yale University. This arduous process has involved the digitalization of more than 40,000 documents, including remarkable items such as a letter from Stalin to author Upton Sinclair, claiming responsibility for the disappearance of a film producer by the state security forces. Jonathan Brent, the editorial director of Yale University Press who has been working on this project for many years, told the New York Times last year that “It’s like the Dead Sea Scrolls for the Stalin period,” providing “a sense of Stalin the individual, his psychology, his growth as a leader.” “This is a man who received correspondence literally two years beyond his death in 1953,” Brent said. “The question of studying Stalin has moved beyond, from love him or hate him, to literally why Russians still revere him after he killed 20 million people in the Gulags and six million in the famine.