Premier Rykov at His Kremlin Home
SHORTLY AFTER OUR INSPECTION of the GPU prison I visited Rykov at his Kremlin home. It was the first of many such visits during that crucial decade in Soviet history. In his own environment, Alexei Ivanovich soon made one forget that he was the chief executive of a great country. Simple in his habits, unforgetful of his privations in exile, the Soviet Premier lived in a small, gray-walled, modestly furnished apartment. There in the years to come I was to meet practically all the leaders of the government and party, with but one exception--Stalin. Though his apartment was in the same building, the Party Secretary never turned up during those visits. Nor did I ever see him at Yenukidze's, another next-door neighbor and his childhood friend.
People in Moscow who knew of my contacts in the Kremlin assumed that I was on good terms with the boss of the ruling party and met him regularly along with the rest. They were right in a way. Although I didn't see the man, I was always aware of his presence near by. Indeed, few gatherings of Rights occurred at the Kremlin in which there was not some whispered, or perhaps audible, reference to Stalin as "He" or "Him."