The smiling faces in the photos do not convey the whole picture, according to Hovantseva.
"Generally, he liked to be all alone. He loved his wife Svetlana and his children. He had no friends. He read and thought a lot. He enjoyed hunting. He also loved farming. He grew lemons (for medicinal drinks). So he was an unsociable man, I think."
Hovantseva says there is no shortage of interest in the dacha. She thinks attitudes toward Stalin are as varied as the visitors to the site; some consider him a great politician, many consider him a dictator and treat him a little "disdainfully."
However, one factor that shows no sign of changing is the restorative powers Sochi offers to the political elite.