Lazar Moiseevich Kaganovich
In modern Russia, researchers do not so often recall Lazar Moiseevich Kaganovich: there are no significant studies to which one could turn in search of interesting facts from the life of this odious, but undoubtedly, outstanding person. However, Lazar Kaganovich was one of the heroes of the Great Patriotic War.
Lazar Moiseevich Kaganovich is remarkable by the fact that he was one of two or three Jews who continued to remain in power throughout the Stalin period. Under Stalin’s anti-Semitism, this was possible only thanks to Kaganovich’s complete abdication of all his relatives, friends, and friends. It is known, for example, the fact that when Stalin's Chekists brought up a case against Stalin about Brother Kaganovich, Mikhail Moiseyevich, Minister of Aviation Industry, and Stalin asked Lazar Kaganovich what he thought about it, then Lazar Kaganovich , who knew very well that a pure murder was being prepared without the least grounds, replied that this is the case of the "investigating authorities" and does not concern him. Before the arrest, Mikhail Kaganovich shot himself.
He was born 10 (22) November 1893 in the town Habnoe (Habne - in Ukrainian) Kyiv region, called Kaganovichi at the peak of his power. Kaganovich came from a large and poor Jewish family, where only Yiddish was spoken. Despite this, he was an admirer of assimilation. Poverty forced Kaganovich to interrupt his studies, and, having studied the craft of a shoemaker, Lazarus was the age of fourteen to work in shoe factories and shoe shops.
In 1911, he joined the Russian Social Democratic Workers Party (RSDLP). Kaganovich led party propaganda work among workers of Jewish origin in northern Ukraine and Belarus. During World War I, he was arrested and deported to his homeland, but then he returned to Kiev illegally, after which, under other names, he worked in shoe factories in different cities of Ukraine, organizing illegal unions of shoemakers each time, and eventually moved to Donbass Yuzovka (now Donetsk), where, as a shoe factory worker, he led the Bolshevik organization. Here, Lazar Kaganovich met the young Nikita Khrushchev.
After the February Revolution of 1917, Kaganovich was drafted into the army and sent to Saratov. A young soldier, who had had seven years experience of the illegal Party work and good orator and agitator, took a prominent place in the Saratov Bolshevik organization. After returning to Saratov Kaganovich was arrested for propaganda, but escaped and illegally moved to Gomel in the frontline zone. Within weeks he was not only chairman of the local trade union of shoemakers and tanners, but the chairman of the Polesie Committee of the Bolsheviks.
During the Great October Socialist Revolution in Petrograd, Lazar Moiseevich was the leader and active participant in the October uprising and the seizure of power in Gomel (now Belarus). He was elected to the Constituent Assembly (dissolved in January 1918) from the Bolshevik faction, and in December 1917, as a delegate, took part in the 3rd All-Russian Congress of Soviets.
In the spring of 1918, Kaganovich was appointed commissar of the organizational and agitation department of the All-Russian Collegium for the Organization of the Red Army and was sent to Nizhny Novgorod, and in September 1919, on the Southern Front to lead the Voronezh station. In September 1920, he was seconded to Central Asia, where he occupied several positions, including a member of the Turkestan Bureau of the RCP (b) and chairman of the Tashkent City Council. During this period, Lazar Kaganovich met Joseph Stalin, who began his ascent of the party ladder, and in 1921 was transferred to Moscow as an instructor of the All-Union Central Council of Trade Unions, instructor and secretary of Moscow, and then the Central Committee of the Union of Tanners.
Kaganovich had a strong and imperious character. But he did not enter into disputes with Stalin and immediately showed himself to be an absolutely loyal employee, ready to carry out any task. Stalin was able to evaluate this appeasability, and Kaganovich soon became one of the most trusted people of a kind of “shadow cabinet”, or, as they say in the West, “the team” of Stalin, that is, the personal power apparatus that Stalin began to form within the Central Committee of the RCP (B) before the death of Lenin.
Molotov in 1922 took him to the head of the Organizing Department of the Central Committee, and here his rapid ascent began. Immediately after taking over the post of General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Party, Stalin appointed Kaganovich as head of the Organizational and Instructor Department of the Central Committee of the RCP (b). In the hands of Kaganovich were powerful levers of power, because the Department headed by him was engaged in the placement and selection of personnel. The most valuable information about the situation in the party flowed here, and many important decisions were prepared here.
From 1922 to 1923 Kaganovich was the head of the organizational and instructor department of the Central Committee of the RCP (b), which was later transformed into the organizational and distribution department of the Central Committee of the RCP (b). His first publications were devoted to theoretical questions of ideology. In 1924, Lazar Kaganovich was elected not only a member of the Central Committee of the RCP (B.), but also a secretary. From June 2, 1924 to April 30, 1925, he was secretary of the Central Committee of the RCP (B.). The new secretary of the Central Committee was then only thirty years old.
At the 14th Congress of the CPSU (b) held in 1925, at which industrialization was declared a priority, he fully supported Stalin’s political course. The rise of his political career began in 1926. Lazar Kaganovich climbed the steps of power in the days of the struggle against Trotskyism. Kaganovich was the "gray eminence" without the agreement with which Stalin did not take a single serious decision and did not take any decisive steps. Lazar Moiseevich led all personnel matters, initiated the creation of the personality cult of "the father of all nations" and was the main organizer of the repressions conducted during the "dictator" rule. In short, it was he who gave birth to that monster, the scale of the crimes of which still amaze the whole world.
After the people needed by Stalin and Kaganovich were placed at all key places in the Russian Federation, under the conditions of the struggle for power against Grigory Zinoviev and Lev Kamenev, Stalin insisted on electing L.M. Kaganovich, General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party (Bolsheviks) of Ukraine. This post Lazar Moiseevich held in the period from 1925 to 1928.
At that time there were many in Ukraine acting independently in relation to him and to Stalin's executives. The party drew a considerable part of the cadres from among the Jewish population of the republic, which saw in Soviet power a guarantee of protection against oppression and pogroms that swept through Jewish settlements during the civil war. At least half of the students of Ukrainian universities were Russian and Jewish youth.
In terms of its significance, Ukraine occupied the second place after the Russian Federation, and, of course, Kaganovich and Stalin could not leave it without their attention. During the two and a half years of his tenure as General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Party of Ukraine, Kaganovich replaced all leading party cadres and everywhere placed his people.
As the highest party leader of Ukraine, Kaganovich pursued a policy of Ukrainization aimed at promoting the development of the Ukrainian language, Ukrainian culture (opera, theater) and the promotion of Ukrainians to the party administration. However, at the same time, the struggle against all kinds of “petty-bourgeois nationalists” and supporters of broader autonomy was intensified. True, in all conflicts of the Ukrainian leadership with Moscow, he always stood on the side of the Kremlin.
The policy pursued by Kaganovich in Ukraine provoked his conflict with the local party organization and the Ukrainian government. Therefore, Vlas Chubar and Grigory Petrovsky insisted on his recall from Ukraine. Stalin had to return him to Moscow. From July 12, 1928 to March 10, 1939, Kaganovich again worked as secretary of the party’s Central Committee.
In the period from July 23, 1926 to July 13, 1930, Lazar Moiseevich Kaganovich was a candidate member of the politburo of the Central Committee of the CPSU (b). In 1930, at the age of 37, he finally became a member of this supreme body of political power of the USSR and served as a full member of the political bureau of the Central Committee of the CPSU (b) / CPSU until 1957. Until the death of I.V. Stalin in 1953, Lazar Kaganovich along with Zhdanov, Molotov, Voroshilov, Mikoyan, Malenkov and Beria was one of the most influential party leaders of the Soviet Union.
Time has shown that in Kaganovich Joseph Vissarionovich was not mistaken. Lazar Moiseevich forever remained his satrap. From 1930 to 1935 L.M. Kaganovich headed the Party Control Commission under the Central Committee of the CPSU (b) and was the first secretary of the Moscow Committee of the CPSU (b). In this post, he was responsible for changing the appearance of Moscow. His work began with the "exposure" of allegedly "counter-revolutionary conspiracies" in the administrative office of the capital.
The beginning of the 1930s was the time of the greatest power of Kaganovich. In 1932-1934, letters from many were addressed to: "To comrades I. V. Stalin and L. M. Kaganovich." At the same time, a radical reconstruction of Moscow began. As the “leader” or “helmsman” of the Moscow Bolsheviks, Kaganovich turned out to be one of the organizers of this work. However, from the mid 1930s, Stalin began to move him to the economic work. In 1935, Kaganovich was appointed People's Commissar of Communications.
Lazar Kaganovich wanted to build an "ideal city of the future" and therefore initiated the destruction of many old districts of the city, churches and buildings, including the . The total destruction of the most valuable historical monuments of Russia concentrated in Moscow is on the conscience of Lazar Kaganovich: he hated the symbol of glory and victory of the Russian people in the Patriotic War of 1812 - the magnificent Cathedral of Christ the Savior, the demolition of which he ordered in 1931.
Kaganovich was responsible for the death of millions during the years of collectivization, who died of starvation, who were shot and went to the unmarked graves of the peasants of Russia, Ukraine, the North Caucasus and other regions of the immense country: more than 7 million people died of starvation.
Stalin entrusted to Kaganovich also the functions of the chairman of the Central Commission for the verification of party ranks during the purge of the party that took place in 1933-1934. And in 1933, Kaganovich bestowed on the country and the party the next opus "On cleaning the party".
In 1934, Kaganovich headed the Transport Department of the Central Committee of the CPSU (b), and later - the transport commission of the Central Committee and the CPC before his appointment to the People's Commissar of Communications. Since February 1935, Kaganovich had been at the head of almost all economic people's commissariats of ministries: railways, heavy engineering, the fuel industry, oil, construction materials. And wherever he worked, Kaganovich was able to show a good face.
In the 1930s he led the rail transport, built the Moscow metro, later bearing his name from 1935 to 1955. On May 15, 1935, the Moscow Metro was solemnly opened, and the first trains with passengers rushed from Sokolnikov in 2 directions: The entrance to the subway was carried out with special tickets: At first, many went down the subway as a tour. However, Moscow continued to develop, and the Moscow Metro developed along with it: In 1938, the second phase opened: the Gorky radius.
He made fear his most important weapon and method of control: On fear and blackmail, multiplied by an organizational acumen, Lazar Kaganovich built his successes in managing. Wherever Kaganovich appeared, everywhere he found "pests", and the elimination of "bottlenecks" began with the elimination of people. Combining two posts — the people's commissar of communications and the people's commissar of heavy industry (1935–1939), the “first foreman” imprisoned all production commanders, members of the council of people's commissariats and chiefs of Glavkov up to directors of trusts, enterprises and chiefs of roads. In this case, Kaganovich acted in two roles — as secretary of the party’s Central Committee and as a people's commissar.
Once at the dacha of Stalin L.M. Kaganovich made one discouraging but significant proposal, which, according to his calculations, should have been appreciated by the dacha’s owner. He said: “We all say - Leninism :, Leninism :, Leninism. But Lenin is long gone. Stalin did more, and we must speak about Stalinism with a capital letter, but enough about Leninism!”.
However, by the end of the 1930s, the situation changed dramatically not in favor of Kaganovich and the other Jews who had surrounded Stalin before. First, the "father of nations" has no more obvious enemies to fight against; secondly, manifestations of anti-Semitism intensified in the country; Thirdly, there was a threat of attack from Nazi Germany, whose leadership had a negative attitude towards the Jews.
On May 3, 1939, the Jew Litvinov was removed from his post as Commissar of the USSR for Foreign Affairs and replaced by the Russian Molotov. In the same 1939, the Jew Kaganovich was removed from the post of Secretary of the Central Committee of the CPSU (b). Most of the other Jews who had previously held high positions and positions were also suspended. And none of them thought to argue, because everyone understood that the time had come to go into the shadows.
For all that, the organs of the NKVD-OGPU were as before filled with Jews, but this, of course, was not publicized. The middle managers were also predominantly Jewish, especially in those sectors that were associated with trade and supply. The removal of Litvinov, Kaganovich and other prominent Jews from key leadership positions made a positive impression on Hitler. As a result, he agreed to negotiate and conclude (August 23, 1939) a non-aggression pact and mutual aid, which he had not intended to do. After that, trains with Soviet raw materials went to Nazi Germany without fail.
In late February 1935, he was appointed People's Commissar of Railways of the USSR, continuing to pay special attention to the control of the construction of the Moscow Metro, the initiator and one of the leaders of which was from 1932. Thanks to his leadership, the first subway line was launched in 1935. The Moscow Metro bore his name from 1935 to 1955. In addition, he was engaged in technical modernization and reorganization of the country's rail transport, while he managed to achieve some success in this matter due to the tightening of discipline, party cleansing and uncompromising hardness.
From 1937 to 1939 L.M. Kaganovich was part-time post of People's Commissar of Heavy Industry, from 1939 he became Commissar of the fuel industry, and from 1939 to 1940 he was the first Commissar of the oil industry. From 1946 to 1947 Lazar Moiseevich was the Minister of the industry of building materials.
As for his participation in the Great Patriotic War, in 1942 he was a short time member of the Military Council of the North Caucasus, and later the Transcaucasian Front, one of the organizers of the Caucasus defense, but was wounded near Tuapse. Then, in the period from 1942 to 1945, Lazar Moiseevich was a member of the State Committee of Defense and was responsible for all military transportation, as well as the evacuation and arrangement of industrial complexes in new places.
After the war, in 1946, he replaced N.S. Khrushchev as the first secretary of the Communist Party of Ukraine and held this position until 1947, engaged in the restoration of the destroyed economy of the republic.
At the last meeting of the Politburo for Stalin, when he suffered a stroke, he proposed a heinous plan for the evacuation of all Soviet Jews. Voroshilov opposed this, Molotov said that this would cause discontent among intellectuals and democratic circles around the world. And Lazar Kaganovich helpfully asked: "All Jews ?!" Before the end of Stalin's rule, Kaganovich officially remained the only Jew in the top Soviet leadership, but he did nothing to stop the anti-Zionist campaign that began in the USSR at the end of 1948 (The Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee).
After the death of Stalin in 1953, Kaganovich remains a member of the Presidium of the CPSU Central Committee and becomes the first deputy chairman of the Council of Ministers of the USSR - Malenkov. After the attempt to remove Khrushchev in 1957, other people from Stalin’s entourage (Malenkov, Molotov, Kaganovich, Pervukhin, Saburov, Bulganin and Voroshilov), convicted by the plenum of the CPSU Central Committee as an "anti-party group", were removed from power. After that, LM Kaganovich worked for a short time as a director of an asbestos production plant in the city of Asbest, and in 1958 was responsible for housing construction in Kalinin.
After the XXII Congress of the CPSU, held in 1961, he, along with Molotov and Malenkov, was expelled from the party. However, his departure from the political scene demonstrates certain changes that occurred in the post-war era. If, during Stalin’s lifetime, the excluded members of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the CPSU (b) / CPSU were usually arrested and shot, then Kaganovich retired and continued to live in Moscow as a personal pensioner.
Lazar Kaganovich remains a mystery to researchers. Self-educated because of the "Pale" in the years of Soviet power has risen to its heights, for several decades was part of Stalin's Politburo, headed by industry and transport of the Soviet Union. He was called the "Iron Commissar", Stalin's best pupil, and was assigned to the most responsible jobs.
After retiring from big politics after Stalin’s death, Kaganovich lived to see perestroika. His name was again mentioned in the press, this time as one of the main culprits of Stalinist repression, an unprincipled bureaucrat and a careerist. Kaganovich was silent. He avoided journalists, lived very closed, and only after his death it became known that until the last day he did not stop working on the memories in which he described his whole long life.
Lazar Moiseevich died on July 25, 1991, shortly before the complete collapse of the USSR, having lived a little less than a century — 97 years. Throughout his life, he retained the firm conviction that Stalin’s policy was correct and in every possible way defended it in his memoirs.
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