Edvard Radzinsky

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Edvard Radzinsky, 2013 Edvard Radzinsky 01.jpg
Edvard Radzinsky, 2013

Edvard Stanislavovich Radzinsky (Russian : Э́двард Станисла́вович Радзи́нский) (born September 23, 1936) is a Russian playwright, television personality, screenwriter, and the author of more than forty popular history books.



Edvard Stanislavovich Radzinsky was born in Moscow, Russia on September 23, 1936 to playwright Stanislav Radzinsky and his wife Sofia. He studied in the Moscow Archive Institute and is a trained historian.

In 1955 Radzinsky married actress Alla Geraskina, a daughter of popular Soviet playwright and writer Lia Geraskina. Their son Oleg was born in 1958. Radzinsky divorced Alla in 1964.

He later married Tatiana Doronina, one of the leading Soviet actresses of the 60s-70s. They divorced later. He is married to actress Elena Denisova.


Radzinsky became a writer of popular non-fiction books on historical subjects, publishing more than forty. He has specialized in books about figures and times of Russian history. Since the 1990s, he has written the series Mysteries of History. Books translated into English include his biographies of Tsars Nicholas II and Alexander II, Rasputin, and Joseph Stalin.

His book Stalin: The First In-depth Biography Based on Explosive New Documents from Russia's Secret Archives (1997) was based on research in Russian and Soviet archives made newly available after 1991. He explored numerous controversies about Joseph Stalin, including the existence of a fuller text of Lenin's Testament, the alleged involvement of Stalin as an agent of the Tsarist secret police, and the role of Stalin in the death of his wife and the murder of Sergey Kirov. [1]

According to Radzinsky, Stalin was poisoned by order of Lavrentiy Beria. His book includes an interview with a former bodyguard of Stalin, who stated that on the night of Stalin's death, the bodyguards were relieved of duty by an NKVD officer named Khrustalev. This same officer was briefly mentioned in Memories, the memoir of Stalin's daughter Svetlana Alliluyeva.

Radzinsky drew on documents from the archives to support the hypothesis by historian Viktor Suvorov that Stalin had prepared plans for a preemptive strike against Nazi Germany in 1941. [2] As is known, Germany invaded the Soviet Union first.




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  1. David Brandenberger. Reviewed work(s): Stalin: The First In-Depth Biography Based on Explosive New Documents from Russia's Secret Archives by Edvard Radzinsky; H. T. Willetts, Europe-Asia Studies, Vol. 49, No. 1 (Jan., 1997), pp. 176-179
  2. Radzinsky cited a document preserved in the Military-Memorial Center of the Soviet General Staff, which was a draft of a plan for military strategy in case of war with Germany, drawn up by Georgy Zhukov, dated May 15, 1941, and signed by Aleksandr Vasilevsky and Nikolai Vatutin. The document stated: "In view of the fact that Germany at present keeps its army fully mobilized with its rear services deployed, it has the capacity of deploying ahead of us and striking a sudden blow. To prevent this I consider it important not to leave the operational initiative to the German command in any circumstances, but to anticipate the enemy and attack the German army at the moment when it is in the process of deploying and before it has time to organize its front and the coordination of its various arms".