Churchill's Lion

During the Yalta conference in 1945, Winston Churchill and the British delegation were housed in the Alubka palace, the grounds of which boasted a marble statue to which Churchill took a particular liking: A lion dozing with its head at rest on its splayed front paws.

"It's so like me," he remarked to Stalin, reminding him of the Russian tradition of presenting the country's finest things to important guests as welcome gifts. Stalin affirmed the tradition. "And the best thing we have in Russia now," he declared, "is socialism."

[The lion stayed in Yalta.]

[Between 1894 and 1899, Stalin studied for the priesthood in a Russian theological seminary in Tiflis (in Georgia). Swept up by the liberal politics which permeated the town, he became a Marxist, joined the Social Democrat Party, and was promptly expelled by the seminary.]

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