MOSCOW Soviet dictator Josef Stalin blocked two attempts to kill Adolf Hitler during World War Two, fearing that his replacement as Nazi leader would make peace with the Western Allies, a top Russian general said Tuesday.
A plan to attack Hitler's bunker in 1943 and a 1944 plot involving an assassin who had gained the trust of the Nazi leadership were both canceled on Stalin's orders, General Anatoly Kulikov told a historical conference in Moscow.
"A plan to assassinate Hitler in his bunker was developed, but Stalin suddenly canceled it in 1943 over fears that after Hitler's death his associates would conclude a separate peace treaty with Britain and the United States," Russia's RIA news agency quoted Kulikov as saying.
In 1944 the Soviets again plotted to kill Hitler after a potential assassin managed to gain the trust of the Nazi leadership. "A detailed assassination plan was prepared, but Stalin canceled it again," Kulikov was quoted as saying.
Hitler killed himself on April 30, 1945, as Soviet forces closed on Berlin, effectively ending the war in Europe and setting the stage for the Cold War stand-off between Russia and the West.
An estimated 27 million Soviet citizens died in the 1941-1945 war with Nazi Germany.
Kulikov was Russia's Interior Minister from 1995 to 1998 under President Boris Yeltsin. He said that the Club of Military Leaders, which he heads, would include details of the assassination attempts in a forthcoming book on World War Two.
(Writing by Conor Humphries; Editing by Ralph Boulton)