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Khrushchev Nikita. The crimes of the Stalin era. Special report to the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union

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Khrushchev Nikita. The crimes of the Stalin era. Special report to the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union
Annotated especially for this edition by Boris I. Nicolaevsky, formerly of the Marx-Engels Institute, Moscow. — Intr. by Anatole Shub. — [New York] : New Leader, [1956 or 7], 67 p.
Most of the Kremlin’s moves since the death of Stalin have been attempts to streamline and rationalize his paranoid tyranny, to make it operate efficiently in a complex political and economic system ruling a third of the world’s population. The 20th Party Congress, first under the new regime and only the third such gathering since 1934, was an attempt to legitimize and consolidate the “collective leadership,” but it took place against a background of fierce maneuvering among the collective leaders. On the first day of the Moscow Congress, Khrushchev delivered the traditional Secretary’s report, an all-day address which contained only two non-committal references to Stalin. Two days later, however, Anastas Mikoyan, First Deputy Premier and veteran trade wizard, rose and denounced Stalin on several counts; he named several Old Bolsheviks who had “wrongly been named” enemies of the people by Stalin. Among the hundreds whom he could have mentioned, he singled out—purposely, it seemed—several from whose deaths Khrushchev personally had profited. A week later, in a dramatic, closed two-day session, Khrushchev delivered the speech which startled humanity. Not its least interesting aspect is Khrushchev’s succession of sly references connecting his present associates to Stalin and Beria: Malenkov at Stalin’s right hand in the mishandling of the war, Kaganovich and Mikoyan “present” at the initial promotion of Beria, and so on. Most significant, however, is the paradoxical dualism that runs through Khrushchev’s address from start to finish: While Stalin’s crimes against his Communist associates are vividly spelled out and deplored, his infinitely greater crimes against the Russian people are applauded in the name of “socialist construction.” Khrushchev’s “anti-Stalin” speech reaffirms the basic Stalinist policy line explicitly and implicitly, although now it is affirmed in Lenin’s name.
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