Post-Stalin Succession Struggle
his is a collection of primary source documents that discuss the aftermath of Stalin’s death in 1953. Comprised of letters and speech transcripts, these documents mostly come from Russian archives and span 1944 to 1962. Many documents are related to or by Khrushchev, and many deal with the power struggle that arose between him and the "Ruling Troika" of Lavrentii Beria, Georgii Malenkov, and Molotov. See also the Nikita Khrushchev Collection and Stalin and the Cold War. (Image, mourners in Rostock, Bundesarchiv Bild 183-18686-0001)
October 02, 1944
Letter from Boris Merkulov (USSR People’s Commissar for State Security) to Lavrenty Beria (USSR People’s Commissar for Internal Affairs)
Letter from Merkulov to Beria regarding the KGB’s efforts to obtain information about the creation of the atomic bomb and specifically about the related problems with uranium
July 01, 1953
Letter from Lavrentiy Beria to Georgii Malenkov Reflecting on the Events of Spring 1953 (Excerpt)
Letter from Beria to Malenkov discussing the events which took place in East Germany in the spring of 1953. Beria also discusses his actions after Stalin's death, asking for the forgiveness of the CPSU CC Politburo.
January 31, 1955
Central Committee Plenum of the CPSU Ninth Session, Morning
The Soviet leadership discusses the state of Soviet foreign affairs. Khrushchev reviews Soviet policy after Stalin's death, blaming Molotov and Malenkov for mistakes in Soviet policy towards Germany. The role of executed Soviet leader Lavrentii Beria is also discussed.
February 08, 1955
[Uncorrected] Transcript of a Meeting of the Party group of the USSR Supreme Soviet on 8 February 1955
Khrushchev reads the decision of the Plenum of the Central Committee of the CPSU that states that Georgy Malenkov does not have the knowledge or experience to fulfill the post of Chairman of the USSR Council of Ministers. The decision lists political mistakes that Malenkov has made, including his close relationship to Lavrenti Beria. Khrushchev upholds this decision, citing examples of Malenkov's political and ideological weakness: his support for abandoning socialism in East Germany in favor of a unified, neutral Germany and his emphasis of light industry over heavy industry, among others. Malenkov speaks, accepting responsibility for his mistakes and agreeing with the CC Plenum decision. Khrushchev then nominates N. A. Bulganin to replace Malenkov as Chairman of the USSR Council of Ministers and G. K. Zhukov to replace Bulganin as Minister of Defense; both nominations are accepted. Malenkov is given the posts of Minister of Electric Power Stations and Deputy Chairman of the USSR Council of Ministers.
February 25, 1956
Khrushchev's Secret Speech, 'On the Cult of Personality and Its Consequences,' Delivered at the Twentieth Party Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union
In a secret speech before a closed plenum of the 20th Congress of the CPSU, Khrushchev denounced Stalin’s cult of the personality. In addition, he revealed that Stalin had rounded up thousands of people and sent them into a huge system of political work camps (Gulags). This revelation was met with astonishment by many present for the speech, but helped to break the power that Stalin still held over the country.
November 01, 1956
Bulgarian Military Intelligence Information on the Situation in Hungary and Poland
This intelligence report discusses the domestic political developments in Poland after the ascent of Wladyslaw Gomulka to the top of the Polish United Workers' Party (PZPR).The events surrounding the Hungarian Revolution of 1956 are also mentioned.
June 28, 1957
Transcript of a CC CPSU Plenum, Evening
The CPSU politburo discusses the effects of Molotov's foreign policy on Soviet influence in the Middle East. Molotov is accused of being adventurous, leading to a loss in prestige for the Soviet Union when imperialist powers forced Egypt to withdraw from the Suez Crisis.
May 16, 1962
Speech of N. S. Khrushchev at a friendly dinner in Yevksinograd (Varna), 16 May 1962
Speaking in Bulgaria, Khrushchev discusses the cult of personality of Stalin and the great purges that occurred under Stalin's leadership. He contrasts Lenin and Stalin and the role of the communist party under each. He addresses the history and current situation of the Communist Party of Albania and the Soviet split with Albania and Yugoslavia.