In TimesOnline, Tony Halpin writes about Gifts to Soviet Leaders, a new exhibition of tributes to Kremlin rulers, from Lenin to Gorbachev, which has been compiled by Cambridge anthropologist Nikola Ssorin-Chaikov and Moscow art historian Olga Sosnina. The gifts comprise “tens of thousands of objects presented to Soviet leaders by peasants, workers, foreign sympathisers and heads of state”:
The telephone was among 20,000 gifts marking Stalin’s 70th birthday in 1949. One film clip in the exhibition shows Stalin receiving a rifle at a party congress in the 1930s then pointing the weapon towards his audience. By the following year most of those present had been killed in a purge.