KHRUSHCHEV. The death of Stalin and arrest of Beria. Changes in the political hierarchy. HISTORY OF SOVIET RUSSIA - USSR

SOVIET RUSSIA. Brief history of the USSR



The death of Stalin and arrest of Beria. Changes in the political hierarchy


The period from March to August 1953 is called the “troubled time” of the post-Soviet Union. The growing crisis in the leadership of the CPSU was resolved on March 5, 1953 by the death of Stalin. In the last hours of his life in the country, changes were made comparable to the state re-collar. Preliminary distribution of posts was carried out by Malenkov and Beria. This happened on March 4, when it became clear that the leader was mortally ill. Rearrangements in the top party leadership under the statute of the CPSU were illegal. Their goal was to restore the position of a narrow circle of people considered to be Stalin’s associates. Already on March 6, the Presidium of the Central Committee elected by the 19th Party Congress was reduced to 10 members and 4 candidates. Thus, the promoted workers of 1952 were removed from power.


The first place in the established hierarchy was taken by G. M. Malenkov, who received the post of Chairman of the Council of Ministers. At the same time he headed the Secretariat of the Central Committee. In the Council of Ministers, Malenkov had 4 deputies: L. P. Beria, who again became the first person in the united Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Ministry of State Security; V. M. Molotov, who returned to the post of Minister of Foreign Affairs; as well as L. M. Kaganovich and N. A. Bul-ganin. The only one who did not initially receive any public office was N. S. Khrushchev. True, he was the second most important person in the Secretariat of the Central Committee. Ultimately, the head of the government, Malenkov, was put on a dilemma: to lead the Sovmin or the Secretariat of the Central Committee. Choosing the first, the “fifth prime minister” gave way to the Secretariat to Khrushchev, who aroused his colleagues as little suspicion as Stalin did in 1922 when he took charge of this key post.


The palette of sentiment in top management circles about the death of the "owner" turned out to be quite variegated. Many were struck by Molotov's speech on the day of Stalin's funeral on March 9, 1953. According to eyewitnesses, "his voice was constantly breaking, his face was white as paper." He is the only speaker who reflected in his speech a sense of loss. Beria, according to Khrushchev, after the death of the leader "reborn", "rejuvenated", "brightened", "cheered up". In general, few people showed joy and triumph over the end of Stalin, and even more in their own circle.


Shortly after the funeral, the new leadership took a number of steps to eliminate past abuses. Already on March 27, 1953, at the suggestion of L. Beria, the Supreme Soviet of the USSR declared an amnesty for prisoners whose term did not exceed 5 years. More than 1 million people were to be released from prison. However, the amnesty practically did not touch political candidates, whose terms, as a rule, were significantly higher. A large number of criminal elements, who created a tense criminogenic situation in a number of cities, were at large.


Simultaneously with the " Voroshilov" amnesty of March 1953 , the rehabilitation of doctors convicted in the case of "killer doctors " was held. The initiator of this step was also Beria. For him, there was a remarkable opportunity to shift all the blame for this "matter" on the then leadership of the MGB and the Ministry of Internal Affairs. From the second half of March, a comprehensive investigation of the investigation began. On March 31, 1953, Beria approved the resolution to terminate the criminal case and release the arrested doctors from custody. On 3 April, at the initiative of the new Minister of the Interior, the Presidium of the Central Committee of the CPSU decided to rehabilitate the pest doctors in the case. At the same time, the Decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the RSFSR of January 20, 1953 on awarding the Order of Lenin to the physician LF Timashuk, from which this “case” began, was canceled.


In general, the number of prisoners released from prisons and camps in the first half of the 1950s remained insignificant. Most of the repressed for "counterrevolutionary crimes" were amnestied only after the XX Congress of the CPSU.


Within a few months after Stalin’s death (until his arrest on June 26, 1953), L. Beria remained one of the main “converters” in the country. On his initiative, in March 1953, 18 structural subdivisions of the USSR Ministry of Internal Affairs — Dalstroy, Spetsstroy, and others — were separated from the Ministry of Internal Affairs and transferred to other departments. By Beria’s decision, the authorized body of the USSR Ministry of Internal Affairs for Germany was reduced by 7 times. Moreover, in May 1953, he proposed to consider the course of building socialism in the GDR as erroneous, noting that a united Germany (even if united on a bourgeois basis) would be a serious counterbalance to American influence in Western Europe.


On May 9, on his initiative, a decision of the Presidium of the CPSU Central Committee was adopted, in which it was acknowledged expediently to "refuse to design portraits of columns of demonstrators, as well as buildings of enterprises, institutions and organizations on public holidays." After the arrest of Beria, the ruling was canceled as erroneous. Shortly before this, he had prepared a proposal to the Council of Ministers and the Presidium of the Central Committee on the elimination of the existing system of forced labor (GULAG), due to its economic inefficiency and futility.


Any undertaking by Beria (from the prohibition of any measures of coercion, including physical ones, to suspects and liquidation of premises and instruments for torture in prisons to demagogic statements about guaranteeing the rights of the individual to him given to him by the Constitution to every citizen of the USSR) as an attempt to seize sole power. As a result, on June 26, 1953, during a meeting of the Presidium of the Central Committee, Beria was arrested . While in detention, he sent letters to the Central Committee of the CPSU, promising "to be firmly corrected in 2-3 years." At the same time, he called himself "the faithful son of the party of Lenin and Stalin," calling Malenkov and others to "intervene and not ruin his innocent old friend." Letters to Beria did not have the necessary action, and on December 23, 1953, he was sentenced to death with a confiscation of property, deprivation of military ranks and awards by a special court presence of the USSR Supreme Court.


The new leadership gradually strengthened the position of Khrushchev, and in September 1953 at the plenum of the Central Committee of the CPSU, he was elected first secretary of the Central Committee of the party.



History of the Soviet Union and Russia in the 20th Century

Nikita Khrushchev


Nikita Khrushchev

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