You could call it poetic justice. Thrown out of his own boyhood home in Abkhazia on the orders of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin, Valery Mizadei now is responsible for maintaining all five of the former Soviet dictator’s residences in the sub-tropical Black Sea territory.
Mizadei was two years old when NKVD (People’s Commissariat for Internal Affairs) troops burst into his family’s house in 1949 and gave everyone 30 minutes to pack for a new life in internal exile in Kazakhstan.
But the affable, grey-haired Mizadei, now director of the de facto Abkhaz government’s department of state dachas, is not one to bear a grudge.
“We all blame [Lavrenty] Beria,” he said, referring to Stalin’s NKVD henchman, who happened to be a native of Abkhazia. Mizadei recently conducted a tour for EurasiaNet.org of Stalin’s dacha at Mysra (also known as Myusera), north of Gudauta, on the Abkhaz coast.
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Elizabeth Owen is EurasiaNet.org's Caucasus news editor, based in Tbilisi.