In Arthur Koestler's Darkness at Noon, who is "No. 1" supposed to be?

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No. 1 is meant to be a fictionalized version of Joseph Stalin. When Darkness at Noon was first published in 1940, Stalin was the dictator of the Soviet Union and the undisputed leader of the Communist Party. In the novel, No. 1 is the dark and nebulous but powerful force behind Rubashov's imprisonment, forced confession, and execution.

This is meant to parallel the actual events that occurred in the USSR in the years preceding the Second World War. Driven by a desire to consolidate his control and also by a large dose of paranoia, Stalin drove a massive purge of real and perceived opponents in the military and government. Rubashov and his fellow prisoners represent the people, many of whom were loyal party members, who were swept up in these purges, made to give false confessions of treason, and...

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