An observer with a keen eye and a sharp wit, Muggeridge saw history in the making. An excerpt:
In those days foreign journalists were vouchsafed some contact with lower echelon Soviet bosses, besides an occasional sight of the top ones; even of the boss of the bosses, Stalin himself. He would walk into view on a platform, or appear in a box at the Opera House, or at the topmost end of a reception, always to the accompaniment of protracted cheers that were precisely timed by the GPU men in attendance. Their duration steadily increased, and at the time of Stalin's death had reached a minimum of seven and a half minutes. It was a preview of the studio audience. Sometimes, again, one would catch a glimpse of the back of his head, with its thick neck, as his heavily escorted car shot past, going to or from the Kremlin.
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