On a visit to the Lenin Museum outside Moscow last year, I bought some trinkets from the small booth selling souvenirs. I saw two miniature die-cast metal figurines, not very clearly, and asked to buy them. I assumed they would be models of Lenin. It turned out that one was Stalin and the other was a familiar military figure, Stalin’s deputy supreme commander, Marshal Georgy Zhukov. Lenin was nowhere to be found.
This says much about Russia today. As Geoffrey Roberts points out in this fine new biography of Zhukov, while the leaders who brought Russia to victory in 1945 are more popular than ever, the revolution is a more ambiguous and distant legacy. Zhukov is probably better known in the West