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Lavrentiy Pavlovich Beria
Georgian: ლავრენტი პავლეს ძე ბერია, Lavrenti Pavles dze Beria
Russian: Лаврентий Павлович Берия

Commissariat for Internal Affairs
In office
November 1938 – 26 June 1953
Preceded by Nikolai Yezhov
Succeeded by Ivan Serov

Secretary of the Communist Party of Georgia
In office
1931 – August, 1938
Preceded by Samson Mamulia
Succeeded by Candide Charkviani

Born 29 March 1899(1899-03-29)
Merkheuli, Georgia, Russian Empire
Died 23 December 1953 (aged 54)
Moscow, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union
Nationality Georgian

Lavrentiy Pavlovich Beria (or Beriya) (Georgian: ლავრენტი პავლეს ძე ბერია, Lavrenti Pavles dze Béria; Russian: Лаврентий Павлович Бéрия; 29 March 1899 – 23 December 1953) was a Soviet politician, and chief of the Soviet security and secret police apparatus under Stalin. By the end of the Great Purge he had become deputy head and subsequently head of the NKVD and carried out a purge of the NKVD itself. Beria was most influential during and after World War II, and attended the Yalta Conference with Stalin, who introduced him to US President Franklin Roosevelt as "our Himmler".[1] Stalin's death on March 5 1953 saw him elevated to the post of First Deputy Prime Minister, where he carried out a brief campaign of liberalization. He was briefly a part of the ruling "troika" with Georgy Malenkov and Vyacheslav Molotov. However, in that same year he was arrested and executed by his political rivals. He claimed to have poisoned Stalin, according to Molotov's memoirs.


Rise to power

Beria was born the son of Pavel Khulaevich Beria, in Merkheuli, near Sukhum, in the Sukhum district of Kutaisi governorate of modern Abkhazia (then part of Imperial Russia). He was Georgian (Mingrelian[2]).[3] He was educated at a technical school in Sukhumi and joined the Bolsheviks in March 1917 while an engineering student in Baku.

In 1919 Beria worked in the security service of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic.

In 1920 or 1921 (accounts vary) Beria joined the Cheka - the original Bolshevik secret police. At that time, a Bolshevik revolt took place in the Menshevik-controlled Democratic Republic of Georgia, and the Red Army subsequently invaded. The Cheka was heavily involved in the conflict, which resulted in the defeat of the Mensheviks and the formation of the Georgian SSR. By 1922, Beria was deputy head of the Georgian branch of Cheka's successor, the OGPU.

In 1924, he led the repression of a Georgian nationalist uprising, after which up to 10,000 people were executed. For this display of "Bolshevik ruthlessness", Beria was appointed head of the "secret-political division" of the Transcaucasian OGPU and was awarded the Order of the Red Banner.

In 1926, Beria became head of the Georgian OGPU and was introduced to fellow Georgian Joseph Stalin, becoming an ally in Stalin's rise to power in the Communist Party and the Soviet regime. Some historians, however, claim that he worked to further his own cause by wooing Stalin in order to gain access to the inner circles of the Soviet regime.[citation needed]

Beria was appointed Secretary of the Communist Party in Georgia in 1931, and for the whole Transcaucasian region in 1932. He became a member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party in 1934. During this time he began to attack fellow members of the Georgian Communist Party, particularly Gaioz Devdariani, who was Minister of Education of the Georgian SSR. Beria ordered the killing of Devdariani's brothers George and Shalva, who held important positions in the Cheka and the Communist Party respectively. Eventually, Gaioz Devdariani was charged with violating Article 58 for alleged counter-revolutionary activities and was executed in 1938 by the orders of the NKVD troika. Even after moving on from Georgia, Beria effectively controlled the Republic's Communist Party until it was purged in July, 1953.

By 1935, Beria was one of Stalin's most trusted subordinates. He cemented his place in Stalin's entourage with a lengthy oration titled, "On the History of the Bolshevik Organisations in Transcaucasia" (later published as a book), which fully rewrote the history of Transcaucasian Bolshevism, emphasizing Stalin's role in it.[4] When Stalin's purge of the Communist Party and government began in 1934, after the assassination of Sergey Kirov, Beria ran the purges in Transcaucasia, using the opportunity to settle many old scores in the politically turbulent Transcaucasian republics. In June 1937, he said in a speech, "Let our enemies know that anyone who attempts to raise a hand against the will of our people, against the will of the party of Lenin and Stalin, will be mercilessly crushed and destroyed".[5]

Beria at the NKVD

In August 1938, Stalin brought Beria to Moscow as deputy head of the People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs (NKVD), the ministry which oversaw the state security and police forces. Under Nikolai Yezhov, the NKVD carried out the Great Purge: the imprisonment or execution of millions of people throughout the Soviet Union as alleged "enemies of the people". By 1938, however, the oppression had become so extensive that it was damaging the infrastructure, economy and even the armed forces of the Soviet state, prompting Stalin to wind the purge down. In September, Beria was appointed head of the Main Administration of State Security (GUGB) of the NKVD, and in November he succeeded Yezhov as NKVD head (Yezhov himself was executed in 1940). The NKVD itself was then purged, with half its personnel replaced by Beria loyalists, many of them from the Caucasus.

Although Beria's name is closely identified with the Great Purge because of his activities while deputy head of the NKVD, his leadership of the organization marked an easing of the repression. Over 100,000 people were released from the labour camps and it was officially admitted that there had been some injustice and "excesses" during the purges, which were blamed on Yezhov. Nevertheless this liberalization was only relative: arrests and executions continued and in 1940, as war approached, the pace of the purges again accelerated. During this period Beria supervised deportations from Poland and the Baltic states after Soviet occupation of those regions.[citation needed]

In March 1939, Beria became a candidate member of the Communist Party's Politburo. Although he did not become a full member until 1946, he was already one of the senior leaders of the Soviet state. In 1941 Beria was made a Commissar General of State Security, the highest quasi-military rank within the Soviet police system of that time, comparable to Marshal of the Soviet Union.

On 5 March 1940, Beria sent a note (no. 794/B) to Stalin, in which he stated that the Polish prisoners of war (mostly military officers but also intelligentsia: doctors, priests; total of over 22000) kept at camps and prisons in western Belarus and Ukraine were declared enemies of the Soviet Union, and recommended their execution (see Katyn massacre).

In October 1940-February 1942 the NKVD under Beria carried out a new purge of the Red Army and related industries. In February 1941, Beria became Deputy Chairman of the Council of People's Commissars, and in June, following Nazi Germany's invasion of the Soviet Union, he became a member of the State Defense Committee (GKO). During World War II he took on major domestic responsibilities, using the millions of people imprisoned in NKVD labour camps for wartime production. He took control of production of armaments, and (with Georgy Malenkov) aircraft and aircraft engines. This was the beginning of Beria's alliance with Malenkov, which later became of central importance.

In 1944, as the Germans were driven from Soviet soil, Beria was in charge of dealing with the various ethnic minorities accused of collaboration with the invaders, including the Chechens, the Ingush, the Crimean Tatars and the Volga Germans. All these were deported to Soviet Central Asia. (See "Population transfer in the Soviet Union".)

In December 1944, Beria's NKVD was assigned to supervise the Soviet atomic bomb project, which built and tested a bomb by 1949. In this capacity he ran the successful Soviet espionage campaign against the atomic weapons program of the United States, which obtained much of the technology required. However his most important contribution was to provide the necessary workforce for this project, which was extremely labor-intensive. The Gulag system provided tens of thousands of people for work in uranium mines and the construction and operation of uranium processing plants, as well as the construction of test facilities such as those at Semipalatinsk and in the Novaya Zemlya archipelago. The NKVD also ensured the necessary security of the project.

In July 1945, as Soviet police ranks were converted to a military uniform system, Beria's rank was converted to that of Marshal of the Soviet Union. Although he had never held a military command, Beria, through his organization of wartime production, made a significant contribution to the Soviet Union's victory in World War II.

Postwar politics

Beria with Stalin (in background) and Stalin's daughter Svetlana

With Stalin nearing 70, the postwar years were dominated by a concealed struggle for the succession among his lieutenants. At the end of the war the most likely successor seemed to be Andrei Zhdanov, party leader in Leningrad during the war, then in charge of all cultural matters in 1946. Even during the war Beria and Zhdanov had been rivals, but after 1946 Beria formed an alliance with Malenkov to block Zhdanov's rise.[6]

In January 1946 Beria resigned as chief of the NKVD, while retaining general control over national security matters from his post of Deputy Prime Minister, under Stalin. But the new chief, Sergei Kruglov, was not a Beria man. Also, by the summer of 1946, Beria's man Vsevolod Nikolayevich Merkulov was replaced as head of the MGB by Viktor Abakumov. Kruglov and Abakumov then moved expeditiously to replace Beria's men in the security apparatus leadership with new people. Very soon MVD Deputy Minister Stepan Mamulov was the only Beria-ist left outside foreign intelligence, on which Beria kept a grip. In the following months, Abakumov started carrying out important operations without consulting Beria, often working in tandem with Zhdanov, and sometimes on Stalin's direct orders. Some observers[citation needed] argue that these operations were aimed - initially tangentially, but with time more directly - at Beria.

One of the first such moves was the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee affair that commenced in October 1946 and eventually led to the murder of Solomon Mikhoels and the arrest of many other members. This affair damaged Beria because not only had he championed[citation needed] creation of the committee in 1942, but his own entourage included a substantial number of Jews.

Zhdanov died suddenly in August 1948, and Beria and Malenkov then moved to consolidate their power with a purge of Zhdanov's associates known as the "Leningrad Affair". Among the executed were Zhdanov's deputy, Aleksei Kuznetsov, the economic chief, Nikolai Voznesensky, the Party head in Leningrad, Pyotr Popkov, and the Prime Minister of the Russian Republic, Mikhail Rodionov.[7] It was only after Zhdanov's death that Nikita Khrushchev began to be considered as a possible alternative to the Beria-Malenkov axis.

Zhdanov's death did not, however, stop the anti-Semitic campaign. During the postwar years Beria supervised the establishment of Communist regimes in the countries of Eastern Europe, and hand-picked the leaders. A substantial number of these leaders were Jews. Starting in 1948, Abakumov initiated several investigations against these leaders, which culminated with the arrest in November 1951 of Rudolf Slánský, Bedřich Geminder, and others in Czechoslovakia. These men were generally accused of Zionism and cosmopolitanism, but, more specifically, of providing weapons to Israel. From Beria's standpoint, this charge was extremely explosive, because large amounts of Czech arms had been sold to Israel on his direct orders. Altogether, 14 Czechoslovakian Communist leaders, 11 of them Jewish, were tried, convicted, and executed (see Slánský trial). Similar investigations in Poland and other Soviet satellite countries occurred at the same time.[citation needed]

Around that time, Abakumov was replaced by Semyon Ignatyev, who further intensified the anti-Semitic campaign. On 13 January 1953, the biggest anti-semitic affair in the Soviet Union was initiated with an article in Pravda: the Doctors' plot. A number of the country's prominent Jewish doctors were accused of poisoning top Soviet leaders and arrested. Concurrently, a hysterical anti-semitic propaganda campaign, euphemistically called the struggle against rootless cosmopolitans, occurred in the Soviet press. Altogether, 37 doctors (17 of them were Jewish) were arrested. It is alleged that at this time on Stalin's orders the MGB started to prepare to deport all Soviet Jews to Russian Far East or even massacre them, e.g. see here[8]. However, this issue is quite disputed (see discussion in Doctors' plot article), and many claim that no such deportation was planned at all or that at least not nearly as much progress was made with the preparations for it as is claimed by the proponents of this theory.

Days after Stalin's death on 5 March, Beria freed all the arrested doctors, announced that the entire matter was fabricated, and indeed arrested the MGB functionaries directly involved. Antisemitic campaign in the mass media was brought to end and no further persecution of Jews occurred.

Early in the 1950s, Stalin's growing mistrust of Beria manifested in the Mingrelian Affair (Beria was of Mingrelian ethnicity), in which many of Beria's protégés in Georgia were purged, diminishing Beria's power.

After Stalin

Stalin collapsed during the night after a dinner with Beria and other Soviet leaders, and died four days later on 5 March 1953.

Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov, in his political memoirs (published posthumously in 1993), claimed that Beria told him that he had poisoned Stalin. "I took him out," Beria supposedly boasted. There is evidence[citation needed] that after Stalin was found unconscious, medical care was not provided for many hours. Other evidence of the murder of Stalin by Beria associates was presented by Edvard Radzinsky in his biography Stalin. It has been suggested that warfarin was used; it would have produced the symptoms reported.[9]

After Stalin's death, Beria was appointed First Deputy Prime Minister and reappointed head of the MVD, which he merged with the MGB. His close ally Malenkov was the new Prime Minister and initially the most powerful man in the post-Stalin leadership. Beria was second most powerful, and given Malenkov's personal weakness, was poised to become the power behind the throne and ultimately leader himself. Khrushchev became Party Secretary, which was seen as a less important post than the Prime Ministership.[citation needed]

Beria was at the forefront of liberalization after Stalin's death, as he publicly denounced the Doctors' Plot as a "fraud", investigated and solved the murder of Solomon Mikhoels, and effected an amnesty that freed over a million non-political prisoners from forced labour camps. In April, he signed a decree banning the use of torture in Soviet prisons.

Beria also signalled a more liberal policy towards the non-Russian nationalities in the Soviet Union[citation needed]. He persuaded the Presidium (as the Politburo had been renamed) and the Council of Ministers to urge the Communist regime in East Germany to allow liberal economic and political reforms. Beria maneuvered to marginalize the role of the Party apparatus in the decision-making process in policy and economic matters[citation needed].

Some writers have held[citation needed] that Beria's liberal policies after Stalin's death were a tactic to maneuver himself into power. Even if he was sincere, they argue, Beria's past made it impossible for him to lead a liberalizing regime in the Soviet Union, a role which later fell to Khrushchev. The essential task of Soviet reformers was to bring the secret police under party control, and Beria could not do this since the police were the basis of his own power.

Others have argued[citation needed] that he represented a truly reformist agenda, and that his eventual removal from power delayed a radical political and economic reform in the Soviet Union by almost forty years.

Given his record, it is not surprising that the other Party leaders were suspicious of Beria's motives in all this. Khrushchev opposed the alliance between Beria and Malenkov, but he was initially unable to challenge the Beria-Malenkov axis. Khrushchev's opportunity came in June 1953 when demonstrations against the East German Communist regime broke out in East Berlin (see Uprising of 1953 in East Germany). There was a suspicion that the practical Beria was willing to trade the reunification of Germany and the end of the Cold War for massive aid from the United States such as had been received in World War II. The East German demonstrations convinced Molotov, Malenkov and Nikolai Bulganin that Beria's policies were dangerous and destabilizing to Soviet power. Within days of the events in Germany, Khrushchev persuaded the other leaders to support a Party coup against Beria; even Beria's principal ally Malenkov abandoned him.

Beria's fall

On 26 June 1953, Beria was arrested and held in an undisclosed location near Moscow. Accounts of Beria's fall vary considerably. According to one account, Khrushchev convened a meeting of the Presidium on 26 June, where he launched an attack on Beria, accusing him of being in the pay of British intelligence. Beria was taken completely by surprise. He asked, "What's going on, Nikita Sergeyevich? Why are you picking fleas in my trousers?" Molotov and others then also spoke against Beria, and Khrushchev put a motion for his instant dismissal. Malenkov then pressed a button on his desk as the pre-arranged signal to Marshal Georgy Zhukov and a group of armed officers in a nearby room. They immediately burst in and arrested Beria.[10]

Beria was taken first to the Moscow guardhouse ("gauptvakhta") and then to the bunker of the headquarters of Moscow Military District. Defence Minister Nikolai Bulganin ordered the Kantemirovskaya Tank Division and Tamanskaya Motor Rifle Division to move into Moscow to prevent security forces loyal to Beria from rescuing him. Many of Beria's henchmen were also arrested, among them Merkulov, Bogdan Kobulov, Sergey Golgidze, Vladimir Dekanozov, Pavel Meshik, and Lev Vlodzimirskiy. Pravda announced Beria's arrest only on 10 July, crediting it to Malenkov and referring to Beria's "criminal activities against the Party and the State." In December it was announced that Beria and the six accomplices mentioned, "in the pay of foreign intelligence agencies," had been "conspiring for many years to seize power in the Soviet Union and restore capitalism."

Beria and the others were tried by a special session ("Spetsialnoye Sudebnoye Prisutstvie") of the Supreme Court of the Soviet Union with no defense counsel and no right of appeal. Marshal Ivan Konev was the chairman of the court. Beria was found guilty of:

  1. Treason. It was alleged, without any proof, that "up to the moment of his arrest Beria maintained and developed his secret connections with foreign intelligence services". In particular, attempts to initiate peace talks with Hitler in 1941 through the ambassador of Bulgaria were classified as treason; it was not mentioned that Beria was acting on the orders of Stalin and Molotov. It was also alleged that Beria, who in 1942 helped organize the defense of the North Caucasus, tried to let the Germans occupy the Caucasus. There were also allegations that "planning to seize power, Beria tried to obtain the support of imperialist states at the price of violation of territorial integrity of the Soviet Union and transfer of parts of USSR's territory to capitalist states." These allegations were due to Beria's suggestion to his assistants that in order to improve foreign relations it was reasonable to transfer the Kaliningrad Oblast to Germany, part of Karelia to Finland, the Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic to the Romanian Popular Republic and the Kuril Islands to Japan.
  2. Terrorism. Beria's order to execute 25 political prisoners in October 1941 without trial was classified as an act of terrorism.
  3. Counterrevolutionary activity during Russian Civil War. In 1919 Beria worked in the security service of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic. Beria maintained that he was assigned to that work by the Hummet party which subsequently merged with the Adalat Party, the Ahrar Party, and the Baku Bolsheviks to establish the Azerbaijan Communist Party.

Beria and all the other defendants were sentenced to death. When the death sentence was passed, according to Moskalenko's later account, Beria begged on his knees for mercy, but he and the other six defendants were immediately executed by firing squad on 23 December 1953,[11] and his body was cremated and buried around Moscow's forest. However other accounts, including his son Sergo,[citation needed] stated that Beria's house was assaulted on 26 June 1953, by military units and Beria himself was killed on the spot but no proof was ever given. Nikolay Shvernik, a member of the court which tried Beria, allegedly later told Sergo that he had never seen Beria alive but his future statements were inconsistent to original.

Sergo and Beria's wife, Nina Gegechkori (niece of the Old Bolshevik Sasha Gegechkori), were exiled to Sverdlovsk. They were released in 1954. Nina died in 1991 in exile in Ukraine. Sergo died in October 2000 still defending his father's reputation, in 1994 he wrote a book on him. After Beria's death, the MGB was separated from the MVD and reduced from a Ministry to a Committee (known as the KGB), and no Soviet police chief ever again held the kind of power Beria had wielded.

In May 2000 the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation refused an application by members of Beria's family to overturn his 1953 conviction. The application was based on a Russian law that provided for rehabilitation of victims of false political accusations. The court ruled, however, that "Beria was the organizer of repression against his own people, and therefore could not be considered a victim." However, the Supreme Court found Vladimir Dekanozov, Pavel Meshik and Lev Vlodzimirskiy guilty of abuse of authority, instead of crimes against the state, and the sentence for them was posthumously changed from death to 25 year imprisonment.

Sexual predator

At Beria's trial after his June 1953 arrest, a significant number of rape and sexual assault allegations were brought to light.[12] The details of Beria's seductions and rapes were considered to be likely exaggerations at the time, since false admissions of sexual perversion were a common element to many coerced Stalinist confessions. However, the 2003 unsealing of the Soviet archives of his case confirmed Beria's sexual crimes, revealing both the full text of Beria's detailed confession and the large amounts of corroborating evidence from "dozens" of victims of his sexual assaults, some of which Stalin had been secretly collecting for years prior to his death. The new evidence on Beria, in the words of Stalin biographer Simon Sebag-Montefiore, "reveals a sexual predator who used his power to indulge himself in obsessive depravity."[13]

During the war, Beria was commonly seen on warm nights slowly driving in his armored Packard limousine through the streets of Moscow. According to the testimony of his NKVD bodyguards—Colonels Sarkisov and Nadaraia—Beria would point out young women to be detained and escorted to his mansion, where wine and a feast awaited them. After dining, Beria would take the women into his soundproofed office and rape them. Beria's bodyguards reported that their orders included handing each girl a flower bouquet as she left Beria's house, with the implication being that to accept his parting gift made her his consensual mistress; those who refused risked being arrested. In one incident reported by Colonel Sarkisov, a woman who had been brought to Beria refused his advances and ran out of his office; Sarkisov mistakenly handed her the flowers anyway, prompting the enraged Beria to declare "Now it's not a bouquet, it's a wreath! May it rot on your grave!" The woman was arrested by the NKVD the next day.[14]

Many women reportedly submitted to Beria's advances in exchange for the promise of freeing their relatives from the Gulag. In one case, Beria picked up a well-known actress under the pretense of bringing her to perform for the Politburo; instead, he took her to his dacha, promised to free her father and grandmother from NKVD prison if she submitted, and raped her, telling her "Scream or not, [it] doesn't matter."[15] In reality, Beria knew her relatives had already been executed months before. She was arrested shortly afterward and sentenced to solitary confinement in the Gulag, which she survived.

Beria's sexually predatory nature was well-known to the Politburo, and though Stalin took an indulgent viewpoint (considering Beria's wartime importance), he himself once became panicked after finding out his daughter Svetlana was alone with Beria at his house, declaring "I don't trust Beria" and calling her to demand she leave immediately. When Beria complimented Alexander Poskrebyshev's daughter on her beauty, Poskrebyshev quickly pulled her aside and instructed her "Don't ever accept a lift from Beria."[16] Once, after taking an interest in Marshal Kliment Voroshilov's daughter-in-law during a party at their summer dacha, he shadowed their car closely all the way back to the Kremlin, terrifying Voroshilov's wife. Prior to and during the war, Beria directed his chief bodyguard, Colonel Sarkisov, to keep a running list of the names and phone numbers of his sexual conquests. Later realizing the security risk, Beria ordered Sarkisov to destroy the list, but the Colonel retained a secret handwritten copy; after Beria's fall from power, Sarkisov sent the list to the new NKVD chief (and former wartime head of SMERSH), Viktor Abakumov, who was already aggressively building a case against Beria. Stalin, actively seeking to dispose of Beria, was thrilled by Sarkisov's detailed records, demanding "Send me everything this asshole writes down!"[17] Sarkisov also reported that Beria's sexual appetite had led to him contracting syphilis during the war, for which he was secretly treated without the knowledge of Stalin or the Politburo (a fact Beria later admitted during his interrogation).[18] The existence of Sarkisov's handwritten list of Beria's victims was acknowledged publicly by the Russian government only on 17 January 2003, and the actual names will not be released for an additional 25 years.

In addition to the official reports from his Soviet archive, historian Amy Knight notes that Beria's sexual predation was partially independently corroborated by an American diplomat, Edward Ellis Smith, who served in the U.S. embassy in Moscow after the war: "Smith noted that Beria's escapades were common knowledge among embassy personnel because his house was on the same street as residence for Americans, and those who lived there saw girls brought to Beria's house late at night in a limousine."[19]

The sexual abuse and rape charges against Beria were disputed by some of the people close to him, including his wife Nino and his son Sergo, and former Soviet foreign intelligence chief Pavel Sudoplatov, as politically motivated smears. In a 1990 interview Beria's wife Nino said: "Lavrentii was busy working day and night. When did he have time for love with this legion of women?"[19]

See also

Notes and references

  1. ^ Montefiore, Simon Sebag (2005). Stalin: Court of the Red Tsar. Random House. p. 483. 
  2. ^ Взлёт и падение Берии
  3. ^ Последние Годы Правления Сталина
  4. ^ Knight 1995, p. 57, preview by Google Books
  5. ^ Залесский 2000 cited by Берия Лаврентий Павлович, biographical index, editor Vyacheslav Rumyantsev
  6. ^ Knight 1995, p. 143, preview by Google Books
  7. ^ Knight 1995, p. 151, preview by Google Books
  8. ^ Heller, Mikhail; Nekrich, Alexandr M. (1982). Utopia in Power: The history of the Soviet Union from 1917 to the present, New York: Simon & Schuster. pp. 503-4
  9. ^ Naumov, Vladimir Pavlovich; Brent, Jonathan (2003). Stalin's last crime: the plot against the Jewish doctors, 1948–1953. London: HarperCollins. ISBN 0-06-019524-X. 
  10. ^ This fits an account (from Khrushchev's perspective) related in Andrew, Christopher; Oleg Gordievsky (1990). "11". KGB: The Inside Story (1st edition ed.). New York, NY, USA: HarperCollins Publishers. pp. 423–424. ISBN 0-06-016605-3. .
  11. ^ See Citizen Kurchatov documentary for more details on Beria's death."Citizen Kurchatov Stalin's Bomb Maker". PBS. Retrieved 12 February 2007. 
  12. ^ Donald Rayfield. Stalin and His Hangmen: The Tyrant and Those Who Killed for Him. Random House, 2005. ISBN 9780375757716; pp. 466-467
  13. ^ Sebag-Montefiore, 506.
  14. ^ Sebag-Montefiore, 506
  15. ^ Sebag-Montefiore, 507
  16. ^ Sebag-Montefiore, 508
  17. ^ Sebag-Montefiore, 507.
  18. ^ Sebag-Montefiore, 537
  19. ^ a b Amy Knight. Beria: Stalin's First Lieutenant. Princeton University Press, 1995. ISBN 9780691010939 ; p. 97

Further reading

  • Antonov-Ovseenko, Anton, Beria, Moscow, 1999 (in Russian)
  • Avtorkhanov, Abdurahman, The Mystery of Stalin's Death, Novyi Mir, #5, 1991, pp. 194-233 (in Russian)
  • Beria, Sergo, Beria: My Father, London, 2001
  • Knight, Amy, Beria: Stalin's First Lieutenant, Princeton University Press, 1993. ISBN 0-691-03257-2
  • Knight, Amy (1995). Beria: Stalin's First Lieutenant (reprint, illustrated ed.). Princeton University Press. pp. 338. ISBN 9780691010939. 
  • Khruschev, Nikita, Khruschev Remembers: Last Testament, Random House, 1977, ISBN 0-517-17547-9
  • Rhodes, Richard, Dark Sun: The Making of the Hydrogen Bomb, Simon and Schuster, 1996 ISBN 0-684-82414-0
  • Stove, R. J., The Unsleeping Eye: Secret Police and Their Victims, Encounter Books, San Francisco, 2003). ISBN 1-893554-66-X
  • Sudoplatov, Pavel, Special Tasks: The Memoirs of an Unwanted Witness - A Soviet Spymaster, Little Brown & Co, 1994, ISBN 0-316-77352-2
  • Sukhomlinov, Andrei, "Kto Vy, Lavrentiy Beria?", Moscow, 2003 (in Russian), ISBN 5-89935-060-1
  • Wittlin, Thaddeus. Commissar: The Life and Death of Lavrenty Pavlovich Beria, The Macmillan Co., New York, 1972.
  • Yakovlev, A.N., Naumov, V., and Sigachev, Y. (eds), Lavrenty Beria, 1953. Stenographic Report of July's Plenary Meeting of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and Other Documents, International Democracy Foundation, Moscow, 1999 (in Russian). ISBN 5-89511-006-1
  • Залесский, Константин (2000) (in Russian). Империя Сталина: Биографический энциклопедический словарь. Вече. pp. 605. ISBN 5-7838-0716-8. 

External links

Preceded by
Samson Mamulia
First Secretary of the Georgian Communist Party
1931 - August 1938
Succeeded by
Candide Charkviani


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

He who is not blind sees that our party, during its difficult days, is closing its ranks still more closely, that it is united and unshakable.

Lavrentiy Pavlovich Beria (29 March 1899 – 23 December 1953) was a Soviet politician, and chief of the Soviet security and secret police apparatus under Stalin. He was top deputy of the NKVD during the Great Purge, responsible for many of the millions of imprisonments and killings. He was arrested and executed by his political rivals. He claimed to have poisoned Stalin using warfarin wine mixture, a powerful rat poison, according to Molotov.


  • Do you know that there’s hardly anyone left of last year’s Caucasian governments? I’ve tried to stop it, but in vain. Yet they can’t all be Trotskyites and traitors.
    • Quoted in “The Kremlin and the People” - Page 126 - by Walter Duranty - History – 2007
  • The enemies of the Soviet state calculate that the heavy loss we have borne will lead to disorder and confusion in our ranks. But their expectations are in vain: bitter disillusionment awaits them. He who is not blind sees that our party, during its difficult days, is closing its ranks still more closely, that it is united and unshakable.
    • Quoted in “The Current Digest of the Soviet Press – Page 9 – by Joint Committee – World Politics – 1953


  • To produce a maximum of chaos in the culture of the enemy is our first most important step. Our fruits are grown in chaos, distrust, economic depression and scientific turmoil. At least a weary populace can seek peace only in our offered Communist State, at last only Communism can resolve the problems of the masses.
  • In a Capitalistic state you are aided on all sides by the corruption of the philosophy of man and the times. You will discover that everything will aid you in your campaign to seize, control and use all "mental healing" to spread our doctrine and rid us of our enemies within their own borders.
  • By psychopolitics create chaos. Leave a nation leaderless. Kill our enemies. And bring to Earth, through Communism, the greatest peace Man has ever known.

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