Stalin and His Parrot

Stalin executed his parrot by smacking it on the head with his pipe because he had begun to bridle at its imitations of his hawking and spitting.

Source: review of To Hell and Back: Europe 1914–1949, by Ian Kershaw, and other books, in The New York Review of Books, April 7


7 responses to “Stalin and His Parrot

  1. Josef Eisinger

    I did not know that Stalin had a parrot, but did you know that Einstein had a parakeet?
    Ref: Einstein at Home (Prometheus Books, 2016)

  2. No, Josef, I did not know that. But did you know that Empress Eugénie gave the Ottoman governor of Egypt a parrot – or was it a turtle? – at the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 who lived until not very long ago???????

    • It was a turtle. The history is a bit murky: “In September 1968 Samir, the oldest Seychelles giant turtle from the Giza Zoo in Cairo, would have celebrated its 269th [???] birthday. The story goes that the turtle, that was born in France, was given to Khedive Isma’il Pasha, the Turkish sovereign of Egypt, by empress Eugénie, the wife of Napoleon, on the occasion of the opening of the Suez Canal on 16 November 1869. Shortly afterwards, Khedive gave the turtle, which was regarded as a symbol of prosperity for Egypt, to the Giga zoo. So the animal has in fact been observed continuously for 100 years until 1969.”

  3. Michael Gundy

    Formula One World Champion James Hunt bred budgerigars.

  4. Michael Gundy

    Comrade Stalin owned a Norwegian Blue, a parrot that prefers kippin’ on it’s back! Remarkable bird with lovely plumage! It was probably pining for the fjords

  5. mike holliday

    Stalin was responsible for the killing of tens of millions of people. It is a shame about the parrot, is it not?

  6. Michael Gundy

    “Tragedy is when I cut my finger, comedy is when you fall in an open sewer and die.” quote, Mel Brooks