On Pleasure

While exiled in Siberia in 1915, the Bolsheviks  — including Stalin, Spanderian, and Kamenev — enjoyed a fairly blissful summer reunion. At a boozy supper, Kamenev asked everyone to

“declare their greatest pleasure in life. Some cited women, others earnestly replied that it was the progress of dialectical materialism toward the workers’ paradise. Then Stalin answered: ‘My greatest pleasure is to choose one’s victim, prepare one’s plans minutely, slake an implacable vengeance, and then go to bed. There’s nothing sweeter in the world.”

S.S.Montefiore, Young Stalin