MOSCOW, March 4, 1953 (UP) -- Premier Josef Stalin lay paralyzed and unconscious from a brain hemorrhage today, and the stunned Russians -- from whom the news had been withheld for 48 hours -- learned that state and party leaders had taken over his duties.
The Council of Ministers and the Communist Party Central Committee were ruling for Stalin during the emergency.
A medical bulletin at 6:30 p.m. said that the 73-year-old Stalin was not responding to treatment but that he still was alive.
Alexis, patriarch of all Russia and primate of the Russian Orthodox Church, asked the clergy to pray for Stalin's health and recovery. Other clergymen joined in the request.
Muscovites at first refused to believe the news. There they lined up by thousands at news kiosks and before public billboards to read a government and party statement and a medical bulletin.
The medical bulletin told them that Stalin on Sunday night had suffered a "sudden brain hemorrhage affecting vital areas of the brain, as a result of which he developed a paralysis of the right leg and the right arm, with loss of consciousness and speech."
It said he was having trouble breathing and that his pulse beat at 120 a minute was "completely irregular."
The government statement expressed confidence that "our party and the whole Soviet people will in these difficult days display the greatest unity, cohesion, stanchness of spirit and vigilance."
But it was hard for the people to grasp. Hundreds of men and women wept in the streets. It was a day of brilliant sunshine and snow lay deep in the parks. The temperature was a few degrees below freezing.
To the generation of Russians born since the revolution, the fact that Stalin could be ill appeared to be almost inconceivable.
One announcement was signed by the Central Committee of the Communist Party and the Council of Ministers; the other by Minister of Health A.F. Tretiatov and nine doctors.
The medical bulletin announced the brain hemorrhage and said that on March 2 and 3, "necessary measures for treatment were undertaken, directed toward improvement of disturbed functions of breathing, circulation and blood which so far have not brought any changes in the course of the illness."
The government statement began by announcing "a great misfortune which has befallen our party and our people- the grave illness of Comrade J.V. Stalin."
It said Stalin was stricken in his apartment at the Kremlin, but differed from the medical bulletin in that it said the attack occurred "during the night of March 1-2."
It added that:
"The treatment of Comrade Stalin is conducted under the constant supervision of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and the Soviet Government."
The government statement said the Central Committee, the Council of Ministers and "our entire party, our whole Soviet people, realize the full significance of the fact that the grave illness of Comrade Stalin will involve his more or less prolonged non-participation in a leading activity."
The government said the Central Committee and the Council of Ministers "found it necessary to publish, beginning today, medical bulletins on the state of the health of Josef Vissarionovich Stalin."
The first medical bulletin issued by the health minister said Stalin's "frequency of breathing is up to 36 per minute, the rhythm of breathing is correct with periodic prolonged pauses.
"It is observed that the pulse beat is up to 120 beats a minute and completely irregular; maximum pressure of blood is 220, minimum 120.
"Temperature is 38.2 Centrigrade. In connection with the disturbed breathing and blood circulation, an inadequacy of oxygen is observed. The degree of disturbance of the function of the brain increased somewhat. At present time a series of therapeutic measures are being applied and directed towards restoration of vitally important functions of the organisms."
The medical bulletin was signed by the top medical men of the Soviet Union; I.I. Kuperin, chief of the medical department of the Kremlin; P.E. Lukossky, chief physical physician of the Ministry of Health; I.V. Konovnlov, member of the Academy of Medical Science; A.L. Mianikov, member of the Academy of Medical Science; Prof. E.M. Filimonov; Prof. I.S. Gizunov, Prof. P.A. Tkachev, Prof. V.I. Ivanov-Neznamov and Prof. E.M. Tareyev.
The medical bulletin and the government statement on Stalin's illness were broadcast repeatedly by Moscow radio on both home and foreign broadcasts. For foreign listeners it was broadcast in French, German and English.
The premier's illness was published in a double-column display in all newspapers.
However, there was no immediate comment.