The End of an Era

Author & Director:
Martin Huebner | Juergen Ast

Commissioning Editors:
Rolf Bergmann | Dr. Katja Wildermuth

45' | World Sales: NEW DOCS

Daniel Ast | Juergen Ast

astfilm productions | for RBB | MDR // ARD

Moscow, March 5th 1953. Stalin is dead. One day later, he is lying in state in an open coffin. Over one and a half million people move through the streets of Moscow. A last farewell for the man they worship like a god. Eyes full of tears. For three days they mourn in deep grief the loss of their "Leader" - their "Father", the "Greatest Man of our Time". During five minutes of silence throughout the East Bloc time seems to stop, as the coffin is laid to rest in the Mausoleum at the Red Square. They can't believe that he has left them. How can we go on without Stalin? What will become of us? The sudden death of Stalin creates a gigantic vacuum.

The film tells the true story of the last days in the life of Stalin, the story of his dying. March 2nd 1953. Stalin's secret Dacha in Kuntsevo near Moscow. Nobody of the bodyguards or combatants is really prepared, when the guard commander finds Stalin unconscious on the floor of his private office. No one can tell when the fatal stroke occurred, because no one of the guards has permission to disturb Stalin. The true story of the "Immortal's dying", for decades it was only known to the inner circle of Stalin's entourage. Stalin is dead, but the established system of terror and murder is still working. A deadly power struggle broke out and to the surprise of many, at the end it is Nikita Khrushchev to become the new leader of the Soviet Empire. The ruthless Beria, the Director of the Secret Service, by many regarded as Stalin's natural heir, he is executed the same year that Stalin died.

60 years after the death of the Dictator, the documentary takes a in-depth look at the story of a dramatic historical impact in the middle of the 20th Century. It tells about the tremor, the fear and the hope of the people. The contrariness appears as much as the bizarre and the absurd. 1953 strongly changed the history of the Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc.