Joseph Slavkin - Lenin's double

Joseph Slavkin

On January 21, 1924, after a serious and prolonged illness, the leader of the world proletariat, Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, died. The farewell ceremony with Ilyich lasted for five days, and on January 27, the coffin with the embalmed body of the leader was placed in the Mausoleum.

Hundreds of sculptors and artists were literally inundated with orders for the production of busts and paintings depicting Lenin, but the problem was that modern computer technologies did not exist then, and there were few photographs of Lenin, and the quality of the images left much to be desired. The demand for sitters similar to Ilyich has sharply increased. This is where the brilliant career of Joseph Slavkin began, like two drops of water similar to Lenin.

A native of the Chernigov province, Joseph Arievich Slavkin came to Moscow in the early twenties, where he got a job in a modest law office. True, colleagues often made fun of Joseph, assuring him that he was the spitting image of Lenin. The similarity was so obvious that Slavkin soon began to play in amateur performances, naturally, playing the role of the leader of the revolution.

Further more. Slavkin reviewed all available newsreel footage on which Lenin was captured, and then stood for a long time in front of the mirror, copying the gestures and facial expressions of his idol. Joseph Arievich got so used to the role that he considered himself not just a man like Lenin, but a faithful companion of the revolutionary. They say that Slavkin often lost the line between myth and reality, telling stories about his meetings with Lenin in exile and joint activities to prepare for the revolution. At the same time, Joseph Arievich was never a communist and was not even going to join the party.

Slavkin abandoned his legal profession and completely focused on "creative activity" - he posed as a model, dreamed of playing the role of Lenin in a movie. At the same time, the appetite of the double was constantly growing, and, along with it, the amount of fees. The income of Slavkin the double was many times higher than the salary of Slavkin the lawyer.

Alas, the double's career began to decline due to Nadezhda Konstantinovna Krupskaya. In the last years of her life, she suddenly noticed that the picture of Lenin was less and less reminiscent of the original. And she even asked the artist Pyotr Vasilyevich Vasiliev - does he use models in his works? Vasiliev admitted that the paintings depict Joseph Slavkin. Nadezhda Konstantinovna said that his resemblance to Lenin is not great and asked to refuse to cooperate with this model.

Slavkin himself was summoned to the Propaganda Directorate and strongly recommended to abandon the role of the "copy" of the leader of the revolution, gently hinting that otherwise he would be held accountable. To which - it was not specified, but the time was such that Joseph Arievich understood everything without details.

He hastily shaved off his mustache and beard and returned to his former profession - got a job as a lawyer in the office of "Myasosbyt". Perhaps this foresight saved the life of Joseph Arievich Slavkin, he died in the sixties at an advanced age.