Nikita Khrushchev -||- The New Russia -||- The Cold War
~~~- To Germany -~~~
The Khrushchev Era
The end of Stalin- he's finally dead. Perhaps now there's a chance to build a better Russia.
History repeated itself as it always does. A great leader passed without naming a sucessor- the party politics and political bloodbath started again.
There was created, a 'Group of Five' to run the Soviet Union collectively. Then some in the party feared that Lavrenti Beria (Chief of the NKVD) would seize power. Khrushchev joined with Bulganin and Malenkov against Beria (sounds familiar? no? Think of the Stalin-Kamenev-Zinoviev bloc against Trotsky). They managed to have Beria arrested and shot. Afterwards, Khrushchev pushed Malenkov and Bulganin aside from power (using his powers as First Secretary of the Communist Party) to be Prime Minister and Party Leader.
In 1956, he made the 'secret speech' that condemned Stalin and spoke the truth. He released millions of prisoners from the camps. Sounds good? Remember this- the camps were still in place, and so was the Communist party's dictatorship. People wondered- especially after the disposal of Beria- if Khrushchev would be any different or better.
His speech frightened seniors members of the party, including Malenkov, Molotov and Kaganovich. They tried to take his power away but failed. This was becaues Khrushchev had already placed his allies in powerful positions- including the KGB and the army.
Now came the test. Would the Khrushchev enemies be 'purged' or murdered with pickaxes as Stalin's were? Nope. Molotov was made the Ambassador to Mongolia, Malenkov would be made the director of a power station, and Kaganovich would be a director of a plant in the Urals.
There were things that Khrushchev did fail to do however. He still discouraged certain writing, like Boris Pasternak's Dr. Zhivago. It was loved world-wide, but Pasternak was made hated in the Soviet Union. He died unhappy.
As for religion, Khrushchev closed down 10,000 churches and many monasteries. Stalin had actually relaxed the ban on the Russian Orthodox Church. Monks and pilgrims were harassed y the KGB, beaten, and sent to psychiatric hospitals.