Its population numbered more than million, and distinct nationalities lived within its borders.
He had suffered a stroke after retiring on the night of March 1—2, but this was not perceived until the morning because of his concern for personal security. The top leadership gathered around his bedside, but he could only move his little finger.
Others in the entourage were more circumspect. They found themselves in a predicament: How were they to ensure that no one acquired his awesome power? This would put their careers, and even lives, at risk. The country was also confused. Even in death Stalin took some with him.
During the elaborate state funeral on March 9, some people were crushed to death in their desire to pay their last respects to the dead dictator. Collective leadership was the only possibility. When the first division of power was agreed to on March 7, the main beneficiaries were Malenkovwho became chairman of the Council of Ministers, or prime ministerand Beria, who stepped up to become first deputy prime minister and also headed the amalgamated Ministry of State Security and Ministry of Internal Affairs.
Molotov returned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and was also a first deputy prime minister. Bulganin became minister of defense. Stalin had given up the title of general secretary of the party in and was afterward merely described as secretary of the Central Committee Secretariat.
Hence he had succeeded Stalin as head of government and party.
This nice arrangement broke down within a week: The main beneficiary was Khrushchev. His name was placed at the top of the list of five secretaries of the secretariat. Khrushchev was now in charge of the party, although he was not formally made first secretary until September Malenkov, in choosing to remain prime minister, made a grave mistake, even though Lenin and Stalin had both occupied the office.
Khrushchev now had a power base from which to attack Malenkov and win precedence for the party over the government. The primary goal of the new leadership was to ensure stability in the country while the power struggle at the top got under way.
An amnesty freed prisoners from the labour camps but affected only the elite and their families and friends. Those in exile were allowed to return to the city of their choice. There was a mood of optimism, and there was a promise to dismantle the worst excesses of the Stalinist legal system.
This became known as promoting socialist legality. Malenkov launched the New Course, an economic program that promised higher living standards. If Malenkov was active, so was Beria.
He tried to give the security police a better image and spoke up for national elites playing a more active role in their territories.
Khrushchev and others became convinced that Beria was preparing a coup. They managed to win over Malenkov, and Beria was arrested in late June During his cross-examination he was very keen to spill the beans about his political detractors.
His evidence ran to 40 volumes, and he obliged Khrushchev by pouring mud over Malenkov and throwing light on the murky Leningrad Affair see above. When Beria was executed in Decemberhe had to be gagged to prevent him from revealing more unsavoury information.Soviet Union - The U.S.S.R.
from to Stalin died a slow, angry, and painful death on March 5, He had suffered a stroke after retiring on the night of March 1–2, but this was not perceived until the morning because of his concern for personal security.
The top leadership gathered around his bedside, but he could only move his little finger. Conventional wisdom discounting a collapse U.S. analysts.
Predictions of the Soviet Union's impending demise were discounted by many Western academic specialists, and had little impact on mainstream Sovietology. For example, Amalrik's book "was welcomed as a piece of brilliant literature in the West" but "virtually no one tended to take it at .
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In this explosive . Have 70 years of nuclear policy been based on a lie? Argument The Bomb Didn’t Beat Japan Stalin Did Have 70 years of nuclear policy been based on a lie? May 30, · The Revolutions of and the Fall of the Soviet Union. Gorbachev believed that a better Soviet economy depended on better relationships with the .
History. Soviet Union history. The revolution - A disaster. A tragedy for Russia and the world that the Reds won. An appalling step backwards into tyranny.