At least in his birthplace.
May 12, 2003, Vol. 8, No. 34 • By MIKE MURPHY
The best trinket is outside. Parked next to the museum is Stalin's old private train car. Steel-plated, it weighs 80 tons. The interior features a kitchen and a few small rooms for his nervous servants and military aide, a private cabin--you can take a picture of his toilet--and a central meeting room finished in dark polished wood and hunter green paint. This command room contains a conference table and about five chairs for staff with the predictable Maximum Leader Chair at the head. Stalin hated to fly and vastly preferred rumbling along in his armored train. (Knowing that any merciless Iron Ruler is a pitiful second-rater without a private steel-plated train car to tour his impoverished slave state in, Stalin gave one, after the war, to North Korean tyrant Kim Il Sung. His loony son Kim Jong Il still rides around in that train car, terrorizing the Korean people to this day.)
We locked up the museum and got back on the road to Tbilisi. The rough politics of the new Georgia awaited us as this fragile country moves along its bumpy road to democracy.
Once, loads of Soviet tourists filled the museum. Now it's a tomb, but you still get an uneasy feeling the ghost of Stalin remains. The electricity is gone, the crowds are gone, and soon enough the museum may be gone as well. In a few years, I'll look for that growling tank lamp on eBay. But when they tear the place down, I hope somebody buries that death mask. Quite deeply, in pieces scattered across different continents, just to be sure.
Mike Murphy is a political and media consultant.