Stalin's dacha in Sochi: Flickr Focus of the Week

Jennifer Karmon
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The Winter Olympic Games have trained the world's eyes on Sochi, Russia -- but for Joseph Stalin, the Black Sea resort town was instead a place for the notoriously paranoid despot to escape attention.

His Sochi dacha (villa) blended in with the surrounding forest, protecting him from aerial bombardment. Snipers were posted on the roof. "You don't see the house, painted in dark-green camouflage colors, until you are right by it," recent visitor Anshel Pfeffer of Haaretz writes.

Several of the photos here were taken by Olga Stavrakis, aka Travel With Olga on Flickr, who was born in Ukraine during World War II but has lived in Minnesota since 1969, according to her Flickr profile. She writes in the captions on her dacha photos:

"Stalin had a hidden dacha in Sochi, Russia, which is on the Black Sea in a district called the Kuban. It was painted green for camouflage. He was paranoid and crazy, and considering what he did to others, he had plenty to fear himself. It is now a hotel, and you can rent his private bedroom, which was on the first floor. It is a bit creepy being there, especially if your family had been affected by him and those who supported him. He did not act alone when he killed over 20 million of our countrymen."

She blogs at

Through Friday, Yahoo Homes will be looking at Stalin's Sochi dacha as our Flickr Focus of the Week. Come back each day to see another space in the residence, plus the story behind it:

Monday: The grounds of Stalin's Sochi dacha.

Tuesday: Stalin's study.

Wednesday: Stalin's indoor pool.

Thursday: Stalin's billiard table.

Friday: A slideshow wrap-up.

More about Yahoo Homes' new Flickr Focus of the Week feature

Each week, we're going to select one Flickr user's home, work and/or project to feature on all five weekdays. Loosely, our plan is to start with a broad slideshow on Monday, then take slightly deeper dives into specific aspects of the Flickr user's photos on the successive weekdays.

We'd love your feedback and suggestions as this work in progress evolves. You can email us at Or, if your questions are specific to one week's focus, leave questions and suggestions at the bottom of the blog posts. Yahoo Homes promises to keep a close eye on the comments section -- and sometimes, the person whose home or work we're featuring will also participate in the comments to answer your questions, too.

For future installments, we very much welcome your submissions at Toot your own horn or someone else's! This would be a fantastic opportunity to spread the word about a designer, contractor (before-and-after pictures would be fabulous), home stager, blogger, even perhaps real estate agent (maybe one who specializes in period properties?) -- anyone who does creative home-related work that can be illustrated in photographs. Just go to to join Yahoo Homes' Flickr group and share photos; that's where we pull our photos from.