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Khrushchev in Power

Stalin died without naming an heir, and none of his associates had the power to immediately claim supreme leadership. The deceased dictator's colleagues initially tried to rule jointly through a collective leadership, with Malenkov holding the top positions of prime minister (chairman of the Council of Ministers; the name changed from Council of People's Commissars in 1946) and general secretary (the latter office for only two weeks).

Georgy Malenkov was officially the new leader. Assessments of him range greatly, from utterly dismissive — “a man without a biography. . . . He had no image of his own, nor even his own style. He was an instrument of Stalin pure and simple” — to laudatory: “a man of formidable intelligence, ability, toughness, and ambition.” The former evaluation seems the more likely, since Malenkov was quickly chewed up in the power struggle between Beria and Khrushchev.

The arrangement was first challenged in 1953 when Beria, the powerful head of the security forces, plotted a coup. Beria considered Khrushchev a round-headed fool. Beria’s liberal policies toward East Germany, which led to a workers’ revolt in June 1953 and had to be crushed by Soviet tanks, won Khrushchev the support of the military and the hardliners. Beria's associates in the Presidium, ordered Marshal Zhukov to arrest him, and he was secretly executed, begging for his life. With Beria's death came the end of the inordinate power of the secret police; the party has maintained strict control over the state security organs ever since.

After the elimination of Beria, the succession struggle became more subtle. Malenkov found a formidable rival in Nikita S. Khrushchev, whom the Presidium elected first secretary (Stalin's title of general secretary was abolished) in September. Of peasant background, Khrushchev had served as head of the Ukrainian party organization during and after World War II and was a member of the Soviet political elite during the Stalin period. The rivalry between Malenkov and Khrushchev surfaced publicly through Malenkov's support for increased production of consumer goods, while Khrushchev conservatively stood for development of heavy industry. After a poor showing by light industry and agriculture, Malenkov resigned as prime minister in February 1955. The new prime minister, Nikolai A. Bulganin, had little influence or real power; Khrushchev was now the most important figure within the collective leadership.

After the Twentieth Party Congress, Khrushchev continued to expand his influence, although he still faced opposition. Khrushchev's rivals in the Presidium, spurred by reversals in Soviet foreign policy in Eastern Europe in 1956, potentially threatening economic reforms, and the de-Stalinization campaign, united to vote him out of office in June 1957. Khrushchev, however, demanded that the question be put to the Central Committee of the CPSU, where he enjoyed strong support. The Central Committee overturned the Presidium's decision and expelled Khrushchev's opponents (Malenkov, Molotov, and Kaganovich), whom Khrushchev labeled the "anti-party group."

In a departure from Stalinist procedure, Khrushchev did not order the imprisonment or execution of his defeated rivals but instead placed them in relatively minor offices. Khrushchev moved to consolidate his power further in the ensuring months. In October he removed Marshal Zhukov (who had helped Khrushchev squelch the "anti-party group") from the office of defense minister, presumably because he feared Zhukov's influence in the armed forces. Khrushchev became prime minister in March 1958 when Bulganin resigned, thus formally confirming his predominant position in the state as well as in the party.

The cornerstone of Khrushchev's policies was the establishment of party supremacy, in fact as well as in theory, over all areas of Soviet national life. By basing his regime squarely on the party, Khrushchev promoted not only his own interests but those of the party as well, he restored a large measure of stability in Soviet political life that was lacking when Stalin died. At that time the party was at the lowest point in its vitality and prestige, and supreme power was shared precariously by representatives of different power elites. By 1960 the party machine completely dominated the structure of power, reigning supreme over the other functional elites -- the economic administrators, the armed forces, and the secret police -- and party careerists operated as the principal integrating and centralizing elements in the state. Not since the early days of Stalin's rule had the party enjoyed such a position of authority. By eliminating pluralism in the power struc-ture, Khrushchev bequeathed to his party cohorts a firm hold over national life.

Despite his rank, Khrushchev never exercised the dictatorial authority of Stalin, nor did he ever completely control the party even at the peak of his power. His attacks on members of the "anti-party group" at the Twenty-First Party Congress in 1959 and the Twenty-Second Party Congress in 1961 suggest that his opponents still retained support within the party. Khrushchev's relative political insecurity probably accounted for some of his grandiose pronouncements (for example, his 1961 promise that the Soviet Union would attain communism by 1980). His desire to undermine opposition and mollify critics explained the nature of many of his domestic reforms and the vacillations in his foreign policy toward the West.

The financial reform of 1961 sent the prices on essential foodstuffs up by over 50%. In 1962, people would line up for potatoes and bread at night. There was no bread or butter in food stores at all. On June 1, it was said that the prices on meat and dairy products would be raised nationwide by 25-35 percent. In the city of Novocherkassk, the workers of the major locomotive-making enterprise were ordered to work more for less money. Over 6,000 workers gathered for a meeting chanting "Khrushchev for meat", "Nikita, give us milk, meat and salaries back!" In the morning of June 2, a crowd of people headed to the municipal party committee. The people did not even think that soldiers would open fire at them. As a result, 16 protesters were killed, over 40 were injured, including children.

Unlike Stalin, whose dictatorship was based primarily on fear, Khrushchev relied largely on persuasion and pressure. As leader of the party and nation, he attempted to create a regime more acceptable to the party at every level and, at the same time, more responsive to the aspirations of the population at large. In line with the effort to popularize the dictatorship, the regime readily discarded outmoded Stalinist patterns of control and gradually replaced them with more flexible techniques. Instead of repressing popular pressures, the regimehas sought to harness them to its own purposes. In short, political manipulation and demagogic appeal, involving promises of security and welfare in exchange for party supremacy, formed the vital ingredients of Khrushchev's style of rule.

Meanwhile, the USSR was setting scientific and technological records. In 1957 the first artificial satellite, Sputnik 1, was launched. There followed a whole string of firsts: Yuri Gagarin became the first man in space on April 12, 1961;Valentina Tereshkova was the first woman in space two years later; and soon after Aleksey Leonov completed the first spacewalk.

Khrushchev’s leadership was marked by a series of high-profile international crises. While championing change, he wouldn’t tolerate dissent. Khrushchev sent in tanks to Budapest, ruthlessly suppressing a 1956 Hungarian uprising against Soviet-imposed policies. There was also the shooting down of an American U2 spy-plane over the Soviet Union in 1960, the building of the notorious Berlin Wall in 1961 and the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, which brought the world to the brink of nuclear war. Yet, Khrushchev also attempted to pursue a policy of co-existence with the West. This shift in doctrine and his rejection of Stalinism led to a split with Communist China in 1960.

A confrontational Cold Warrior, Khrushchev told Americans in a 1959 visit: Your grandchildren will live under communism!" In 1959 the USA staged its "American National Exhibition" in Sokolniki Park. Amid the initial throngs of curious and information-starved Soviet visitors then was Communist Party chieftain Nikita Khrushchev. There to explain the United States (or at least its home appliances) was an equally controversial figure, Vice President Richard Nixon.

At this first Sokolniki exhibit the famous "kitchen debate" between these two stalwarts took place. Nixon led Khrushchev around a demonstration US kitchen, pointing at a dishwashing machine and helpfully noting that "this is our newest model," (in case Khrushchev was in a buying mood?). Khrushchev refused to take anything Nixon said at face value - bonus points for perspicacity there - and indulged in a classic Soviet debating tactic: When stumped by your opponent, lie like a rug. Shown everyday, US appliances a Soviet family couldn't dream of owning, Khrushchev counterpunched: "[Newly built] Russian houses have all this equipment right now." The spontaneous exchange featured both humor (Khrushchev: "I hope I haven't insulted you." Nixon: "I have been insulted by experts.")

Since the end of the 1930's, the Soviet government had set the main goal as the "completion of building socialism and transition to the building of communism." In 1961, Nikita Khrushchev promised, "The current generation of Soviet people will live under communism." Following this phrase, the third program of the CPSU was adopted with the ambitious goal to build communism by 1980.

Georgy Malenkov

Malenkov was regarded by many as a possible successor to Stalin. Georgy Malenkov was born (December 26, 1901 [ 08 January 1902 ], in Orenburg, city of Moscow. A member of the CPSU Central Committee (1939-1957), A candidate member of the Politburo of the CPSU (b) (1941-1946.), Member of the Politburo (Presidium) Central Committee (1946-1957), A member of the Organising Bureau of the Central Committee of the CPSU (b) ( 1939-1952), Secretary of the CPSU Central Committee (1939-1946 and 1948-1953), deputy of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR (1938-1958). He was responsible for a number of major defense industries, including the creation of the hydrogen bomb and the first nuclear power plant in the world. He was the actual head of the Soviet state from in March to September 1953.

Malenkov was born in the family of a civil servant on the railroad, a descendant of immigrants from Macedonia noble Maximilian Malenkov (descendant of a certain kind of Ohrid priests Malenkov) and burghers , the daughter of a blacksmith Anastasia Shemyakin. According to the father, the grandfather was a colonel, his grandfather's brother, a Rear Admiral.

In 1919 he graduated from Classical High School and was drafted into the Red Army , after the entry in April 1920 in the RCP (B) was a political officer of the squadron, regiment, brigade, the Political Administration of the Eastern and Turkestan fronts.

During his stay on the Turkestan front Malenkov marries Valerie Golubtsova, who worked as a librarian in the agitation trains. Senior mother Golubtsova sisters (Olga) were famous "sisters Nevzorova" (Zinaida, Sophia and Augustine) - Lenin's companion on the Marxist circles as early as the 1890s. Zinaida Nevzorova in 1899 married G.M.Krzyzanowski, in the 1920s, headed the commission electrification. This relationship seems to Malenkov and determined commitment and Valerie Golubtsova receivable in the field of energy education.

After moving to Moscow in 1921, Malenkov entered the Moscow Higher Technical School at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering. Valeria Golubtsova gets a job in the organizational department of the Central Committee and receives a separate room in the former Loskutnaya hotel on Tverskaya Street - the center of the habitat of the Moscow Communist Bohemia.

Occupying the post of Secretary of the Party organization, he led the purges against the Trotskyist opposition. Whther Malenkov graduated is not known. The son of Malenkov wrote that his father graduated from high school with a gold medal, and that after Bauman invited him to graduate school, but he could not leave the party work and drove another two years in his spare time research under the guidance of academician KA Circle.

In the 1920-1930-ies. - An employee of the Organization Department of the Central Committee of the CPSU (b), with the 1927 technical secretary of the Politburo. In the years 1930-1934 the head of department (according to some sources - mass agitation, on the other - institutional [8] [9] ) of the Moscow Regional Committee of the CPSU (b), headed by L. M. Kaganovich . After the 17th Congress of the Kaganovich became chairman of the Party Control Commission. Malenkov in thr years 1934-1936 was deputy head of the Central Committee of the CPSU leading party bodies, with the March 1935 headed by N.I.Yezhov. In February 1936, Malenkov was replaced by Yezhov, head of the department on duty leading Party bodies. Igor Abrosimov called Malenkov Kaganovich protégé.

In the years 1935-1936, after the nomination of Stalin's slogan "Cadres decide everything", Malenkov campaignrf for verification and exchange of party documents, in which were made index cards, files on all members and candidate members of the CPSU (b) - about 2.5 million. On the basis of the collected catalogs, which also included data on non-party managers and specialists, was built the grandiose nomenclatura centralized personnel system, which became the main party specialty of Malenkov.

Georgy Malenkov played a big role in the overthrow of N.I.Yezhov, accusing him and his subordinate agency dedicated to the destruction of the Communist Party. Together with Beria took part in the arrest of Yezhov, who was arrested in Malenkov's office.

Since 1939 he was a member of the CPSU(b). On March 22, 1939 until the spring of 1946 the chief of staff of the Office of the Central Committee and secretary of the Central Committee. From March 1939 to October 1952 he was a member Orgburo.

Before the war, he was engaged in a wide range of military issues: supervised secret apparatus of the Comintern, military personnel, in charge of aviation and reactive subjects. Since July 1940 he was a member of the Central Military Council of the Red Army.

During the Great Patriotic War he was a a member of the State Defense Committee. In August 1941, he was at the Leningrad front; autumn and winter of 1941 he took an active part in the organization of operations for Moscow counter-offensive. In March 1942, he traveled on Volkhov Front, in July and then in August - September 1942 - on the Stalingrad and Don fronts, in March 1943 - on the Central Front. Headed t. N. Malenkovskaya Commission GKO - expert group, consisting of senior generals and leave on the critical sections of the front. As curator of the People's Commissariat of the aviation industry for their outstanding achievements in the field of strengthening the production of aircraft engines and September 30, 1943 Malenkov was awarded the title of Hero of Socialist Labor, with the award of the Order of Lenin.

In June 1943 he was Chairman of the Council under the radar of T-bills (later known as the "Ad Hoc Committee number 3 " ) [13] , from June 1947 he was succeeded by M.Z.Saburov.

In 1943, Malenkov headed the Committee for the restoration of the liberated areas in 1944 - to dismantle German industry committees dealing obtain reparations from Germany in favor of the USSR. On March 18, 1946 he became a Member of the Politburo of the CPSU(b). "In fact, Malenkov was assigned as deputy to Stalin in the party", - points out Dr. ist. Sciences O. B. Khlevnyuk.

In March 1946 he was appointed chairman of the commission for the construction of a bomber Tu-4, which made ??the first flight in May 1947 . Because of accusations of systematic management of the aviation industry deliveries of defective aircraft to the front (" aviation business ") in April-May 1946 Malenkov becomes the highest political office of the Secretary of the Central Committee and head of the Central Committee of the frame.

On May 4, 1946 at a meeting of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee on the report of Stalin, Malenkov was removed from the Secretariat of the Central Committee of the CPSU (b) was replaced by N.S.Patolichev. Malenkov as chief of the aviation industry and for the acceptance of aircraft - over the air force, was morally responsible for those outrages which opened in these departments (issue of substandard aircraft) that he knew about these outrages, not signaled them to CC CPSU (b)". For information about the subsequent disgrace and exile inconsistent. In the magazine's office visits Stalin's record of Malenkov not interrupted. In early June, Malenkov participate in the funeral of Kalinin . However, the protocols Organising Bureau and the Secretariat of the meetings it is clear that Malenkov did not participate from May 18 to July 17, 1946. In the Soviet version, Malenkov's participation in the leadership of the Special Committee have been quite officially classified, biographies of the period from 1946 to 1948 was passed, or reported on a business trip to Central Asia.

He was Chairman of the "ad hoc committee number 2" on the development of missile technology since the founding (May 13, 1946) in May 1947. Malenkov was also a member and part of the special committee on the use of atomic energy, and monitored information on the committee, but its specific role in the Soviet nuclear program are still unclear.

Since the autumn of 1947 he participated in the Cominform under the direction of A.Zhdanov. After the split with Yugoslavia and unsuccessful blockade of Berlin in July 1948, Zhdanov moves from the post of CC secretary in charge of foreign policy. Malenkov carried major efforts to help the Chinese Communists in the civil war, which ended their triumphant victory in 1949. Malenkov played a major role in the "Leningrad case". Arrests began in July 1949. Information about the removal from work, bring to the party and the criminal liability of legal processes in the press was not published. For the sake of "Leningrad", in the course of the investigation of the Leningrad affair, January 12, 1950, in the Soviet Union reintroduced the death penalty "in relation to the traitors, spies and Squad-saboteurs" (before that, in 1947, the Decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Council USSR abolished the death penalty). Despite the fact that in this case, not the rule, "the law is not retroactive," the introduction of the death penalty takes place three days before the decision of the Politburo of the CPSU (b) "On the anti-Party activities ...", and therefore the connection between the two facts can be seen.

According to the Commission of the Politburo in 1988, during the investigation of the so-called case of the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee , it was found that the direct responsibility for the illegal repression of persons involved in this case was carried by Malenkov, who was directly involved in the investigation and court proceedings.

According to the decision of the Bureau of the Presidium of the CPSU Central Committee on the work of the Bureau of the Presidium of the CPSU Central Committee and the Bureau of the Council of Ministers Presidium on November 10, 1952 Malenkov moved away from the work in the Council of Ministers and focused on the work of the Central Committee. Decision of the Bureau of the Presidium of the CPSU Central Committee on the work of the Secretariat of the CPSU Central Committee of 17 November 1952, Malenkov, Suslov and Pegova entrusted chairing the meetings of the Secretariat of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in the absence of Stalin.

By the time of the death of Stalin, Malenkov firmly took the position of the second person in the party and the state. After Stalin's death on 05 March 1953, Malenkov became Chairman of the USSR Council of Ministers. Already in March 1953 at the first closed session of the Presidium of the Central Committee, he stated the need to "stop the policy of the cult of personality and go to the collective leadership of the country", reminding members of the CC as Stalin himself strongly criticized them for the implanted around the cult. However, any significant reaction to the proposal was not followed by Malenkov.

Malenkov in May 15, 1953, two months after the death of Stalin, made the big decision to assist in the industrialization of China, which in fact was the beginning of a period of "great friendship" (usually dating back 1953-1957).

Policy reforms initiated by Malenkov, continued, but began to lose chances of success. In August 1953, at the session of the Supreme Council Malenkov made ??a proposal to halve the agricultural tax, write off the arrears of previous years, as well as change the principle of taxation of residents of villages. Malenkov put forward the thesis of peaceful coexistence between the two systems, advocated the development of light and food industries, for the fight against privilege and bureaucracy of the party and state apparatus, noting the "complete neglect of the people " and the "bribery and corruption of moral character communists".

In 1955 he was criticized and was removed from the position of Chairman of the Council of Ministers and was appointed Minister of power, but retained his position as a member of the Presidium of the CC CPSU. In 1957, together with V. Molotov and L. M. Kaganovich, Malenkov and Shepilov attempted to shift Khrushchev from the post of the 1st Secretary of the CPSU. The Plenum of the Central Committee in June 1957 considered the case of the "anti-Party group". Malenkov was removed from the Central Committee, was transferred to the post of director of the power plant in Ust-Kamenogorsk , then - thermal power plant in Ekibastuz, headed for ten years, and in November 1961 expelled of the CPSU (in contrast to Molotov, he was not restored) and in the same year he was sent to retirement.

During a short reign Malenkov removed different sets of prohibitions: on the foreign press, border crossings, customs transportation. However, the new policy was presented by Malenkov as a logical continuation of the previous course, so the urban population of the country few pay attention to the changes, poorly understood and not remember them.

He lived with his wife Valeria on Frunze, and traveled by train to his dacha in Kratovo. There he was seen in the village church. He appealed to the Orthodox faith - he was seized with remorse. He died 14 January 1988 and was buried at Novokuntsevskom cemetery in Moscow.

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Page last modified: 18-04-2016 20:05:21 ZULU