Stalin’s pipe became – along with his moustache – one of his famous attributes. he received many gifts of pipes from around the world, but also has his favourite. The pipe was also a signal of responses to people and ideas. The three key signals were:

1. Pipe taken out of mouth, smoking ceases = moment of thought and possible disagreement or change of mind.

2. Pipe placed carefully on table = someone has stuffed up and is about to be told off.

3. Pipe firmly in mouth and moustache calmly smoothed = deep pleasure and approval.