14:23 GMT +322 September 2018
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    Businessman buys Stalin's country residence

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    MOSCOW, June 27 (RIA Novosti) - Oleg Deripaska, the owner of Russia's largest management company for private investment funds, Basic Element, has bought the favorite dacha, or country residence, of Soviet dictator Josef Stalin.

    Komsomolskaya Pravda, a widely read daily, reported today that the businessman had paid $10 million for the property on the Kholodnaya river in Abkhazia, a self-proclaimed republic in Georgia.

    The republic's parliament debated the dacha's fate for a year before finally deciding to accept Deripaska's bid. It is not known if the businessman has transferred the funds, as his company declined to comment on the deal. But it did not deny that had taken place.

    The dacha was built in the 1930s on Stalin's personal order. Surrounded by pines, it could not be seen from the sea, as the Soviet leader was extremely worried about his security. In fact, he did not even swim in the sea but had salt water supplied to his bathroom through a special pipe. Two other pipes delivered fresh cold and hot water.

    Stalin's bed was made specifically for his height, 173 centimeters (just under five feet seven inches). Dacha staff had to deal with some tough requirements: everyone, including the guards, had to keep out of the leader's way. Guards hid from Stalin among the pines. When local boys once unwittingly wandered onto Stalin's beach, their parents were sentenced to 10 years in labor camps.

    The paper wrote that Stalin's dacha had always been one of the most popular excursion routes in Abkhazia and sensation seekers could even spend a night in Stalin's bed for $50, which is a huge sum in the republic. The leader's room has been kept as it was during his life.

    In recent years, the dacha was used for receptions arranged by the then president, Vladislav Ardzinba. But at one banquet a carelessly discarded cigarette caused a fire that destroyed part of the house and the pines.

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