Tea Set Dedicated
to the Battle of Stalingrad
A gift to Joseph Stalin on his 70th birthday from the staff
of Communist-international Gorodnitsa Porcelain Factory,
Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, 1949
The white china tea set embodies the glory of the country's victory during WWII.
Painted by artist N. S. Zhabokritsky, it carries portraits of USSR leader
and top-ranking military men involved in one of the greatest battles of the 20th
century, the Battle of Stalingrad. However, there is one man missing in this
portrait gallery, Marshal Georgy Zhukov, who was also commonly called
"marshal of the victory."
On the tea pot depicted is the image of generalissimo Josef
Stalin in his Kremlin office behind a table covered with maps.
The cups carry portraits of the Communist Party, top military leadership and
war heroes, as well as genre scenes and quotes. Among the genre scenes are
memorable episodes of the Stalingrad Battle: squadrons fighting on front lines,
tank and infantry attacks, soldiers writing letters to comrade Stalin. Among
those depicted on the tea set are: Soviet leader Joseph Stalin, party leaders
Anastas Mikoyan, Nikita Khrushev, Georgy Malenkov, Nikolay Bulganin,
Vyacheslav Molotov, Lazar Kaganovich, marshals Aleksander Vasilevsky,
Semyon Budenny, Kliment Voroshilov, Konstantin Rokossovsky, Andrey
Eremenko, Nikolay Voronov, Vasily Chuykov, and Fyodor Tolbukhin,.
USSR Minister of Interior Lavrenty Beria
“We mentioned 15 names. On one of the cups, there is no portrait.
Interestingly enough, the image on the cup was erased, just like the
corresponding text, which comprised a quote by the ‘erased’ individual…
This individual Politburo member Lavrenty Beria, who, soon after Stalin’s
death, received a death sentence for conspiracy and was executed. Immediately,
craftsmen hurried to erase Beria’s image from the tea set, which was at that
time publically exhibited among the gifts to Josef Stalin.
Also interesting to note is that you will not see one of the mightiest of
military officers of the Great Patriotic War, Marshal of Victory Georgy
Zhukov, in this gallery… The author of the tea set very carefully avoided
painting the four time Hero of the Soviet Union, winner of two ‘Victory’
medals and at that time, Stalin’s ‘disgraced’ commander, on the cup.”
Marshal Georgy Zhukov, 1945
In 1946, Georgy Zhukov, who, just a year before, had reviewed the Victory
Parade on a white horse, was accused of illegal acquisition of awards and
exaggeration of his part in Hitler's demise. Stalin personally termed it as such:
"He claimed the planning of an operation, to which he had no relation."
During the hearings, all of the military commanders, except for one, supported
Zhukov. Despite that, Zhukov was accused of "bonapartism," was removed
from the post of Chief of Army Staff and was appointed as an ordinary Odessa
corps commander. Later Georgy Zhukov wrote a book: "Memories and
Contemplation," which was published in 1969. But Zhukov did not write about
his complaints in his memoires: he used the book to write about the history of
the Great Victory and when he discussed Stalin, he showed extreme respect