Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev
A communist leader and a Soviet statesman, who ruled the Soviet Union from 1953 to 1964, his rule was marked by the staunch anti-Stalinism, and the establishing of the first pillars of the policy of international openness and peaceful coexistence.
Nikita Khrushchev was born in Kalinkova, on the border between Russia and Ukraine, from a family of poor peasants.
He first worked as a shepherd, then a worker in the iron and steel factories in 1909, joined the Soviet Communist Party in 1918 and fought alongside the Red Guards during the civil war.
After peace prevailed by the victory of the revolution, he worked as a mining worker and joined the Workers ‘Union in 1922, where he became the secretary of a communist cell. After completing his studies at the Workers’ University, he completed his political career in the Ukrainian Communist Party.
The rise to the power
He met Kaganovich in 1917, and in 1925 Kaganovich became the leader of the party in Ukraine, and Khrushchev was one of his followers and soon grew up in the party.
In 1929, Khrushchev sought to improve his education. He was sent to Moscow to study at the Stalin Industrial Academy, where he remained until 1931.
When he returned to Ukraine, he took up the highest party positions, served as secretary of several partisan committees in 1931, and was elected a member of the Central Committee in 1932, then a member of the Supreme Soviet in 1937.
In 1938, he served as First Secretary of the Communist Party of Ukraine until 1949, and a candidate for the Political Bureau of 1939. At the same time he headed the People’s Commissar Council (Council of Ministers) of the Ukrainian Socialist Soviet Republic and became a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.
In World War II Khrushchev has served to take the Soviet industries from Ukraine to the east to save them from the German invasion.
He served in the war councils on the western and southwestern fronts, took part in organizing the war behind the German lines, and he served as a political commissioner in the army to defend Stalingrad.
In 1943 he was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant General, and when the Soviets liberated Kiev in November 1943, he returned to serve as First Secretary of the Ukrainian Communist Party.
In December 1949, Khrushchev moved to Moscow where he became a secretary of the party’s central committee and gained a reputation in agricultural policy.
In October 1952, at the Nineteenth Congress of the Soviet Communist Party, he was elected a member of the Presidential Council of the Central Committee and the Secretariat of the Committees.
In 1953 he served as First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and at the same time headed the Council of Ministers of the Soviet Union.
After the death of Stalin in 1953, the seven central committee members gathered decided that three of them will take over the power: Molotov, Malenkov, and Priya, but Priya was greedy for the monopolization of the power, so he was arrested and executed.
Khrushchev took advantage of the liquidation of Priya and removed Malinkov easily and replaced Bulganin in his place, while at the same time addressing the problems that were the key to his popularity (Such as improving financial conditions, releasing of political detainees, rapprochement with Tito and the development of the agricultural economy).
His major strike was at the 20th Congress of the Communist Party in 1956, when he declared war against Stalinism, which was a war against the communist constants until he took over the leadership of the party and the government
The struggle for control
His reign was described as a period of relative openness, as intellectuals became more liberal in comparison with Stalin’s era, but he later continued to suppress dissenters, shoot workers’ demonstrations, abuse intellectuals, meddle in other countries, stifle relations with the West, but he promised to build the communist society in 1980.
On the level of internal development, Khrushchev achieved a great deal. His achievements included the reform of the education system and the Seventh Plan, as well as an ambitious program to invade outer space, increase the military capability of the Soviet Union, develop new types of strategic weapons and develop the Soviet economy.
Consolidation of power and the secret speech
In February 1956, Khrushchev opened the 20th Congress of the Communist Party, where he spent eight hours covering his hundred-page report, by presenting the international situation of the Soviet Union, the internal situation and the results of the five-year plan for industry and the growth of agricultural production, Raising the cultural level of the people, advancing democracy and strengthening legitimacy in the Soviet system, then Khrushchev moved to the party’s internal problems.
The conference adopted the major lines of Khrushchev’s report, then the delegates were invited to a surprise private meeting at midnight on February 24-25, 1956, where they listened for four hours to Khrushchev’s report on individual worship, its consequences and disadvantages with a research on collective leadership and its benefits, he denounced the crimes of Stalin, his ill will, his vanity, the misdeeds of his secret police and his mistakes on the day the Germans attacked the Soviet Union and his dictatorship after the Second World War at home and abroad.
The report made a sensation in the communist world, although the full text of the report was kept secret, but its summary was available to Communist Party leaders and some leaders of the socialist camp countries until the secret became known and spread the spirit of denunciation of Stalin and praising Khrushchev in several socialist countries causing many liquidations, partisan differences, which led to the split of the communist movement between Moscow and Beijing.
Foreign policy and defense policies
Khrushchev’s leadership was marked by important developments, including the establishment of the Warsaw ally in 1955 and the conclusion of the Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, 1963.
Khrushchev has taken a policy of openness, understanding, and support towards Third World countries, especially Arab countries. He took a decisive position on the tripartite aggression against Egypt, provided assistance for the construction of the High Dam and hundreds of industrial projects, he broke the monopoly of the arms industry in the Arab region, and worked to help and support the Yugoslavian communism (Agreement on Convergence between the Parties and the Two States in 1955).
The first shoe-to-politics incident occurred when Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev took off his shoes in 1960 at a UN session and was beaten on the table in front of the British Prime Minister Harold McMillan during discussing Soviet proposals on arms control, then everyone was laughing.
Early Relations and the Visit to the USA (1957-1960)
In 1959, Nikita Khrushchev made his first official visit to the United States in the history of US-Soviet relations.
His battle against the United States in the Cuban missile crisis (1962) took the form of a global war because it brought the two countries to the brink of war, but Khrushchev retreated and withdrew Soviet missiles from Cuba in exchange for the United States’ pledge not to invade the island and stop US spy flights from Turkey on the south of the Soviet Union.
In the years when Khrushchev took the leadership of the party and the government, The Soviet-Chinese conflict is exacerbated in its regional, national, ideological and economic aspects, but it did not witness a military escalation. Khrushchev was the author of the decision to withdraw experts and Soviet technicians from China and to stop economic and technical aid in 1961.
The developments that ended with Khrushchev’s departure were surprising and rapid, as in the first week of October 1964, the Political Bureau of the party summoned him to Moscow from a vacation he had spent in the Crimea, where he faced an accusation that he did not realize the idea of socialist justice and did not weigh the collective responsibility, the Politburo members insisted on self-criticism but he did not do so, and Soslov asked him to resign from all his positions except for the prime minister. Khrushchev refused, but he discussed, proved and threatened for hours.
On October 14, 1964, Khrushchev resigned all his positions forcibly, the gathered opinions that the main reasons for his disqualification were:
- His monopoly on power is contrary to the principle of collective leadership.
- The failure of his agricultural policy.
- To offend the prestige of the Soviet Union during the Cuban missile crisis.
- To offend his party and government positions with appearances that benefited Western propaganda.
- Exacerbate differences and share accusations with the CPC leadership.