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NAME: Nikita OCCUPATION: Khrushchev World Leader BIRTH DATE: PLACE OF BIRTH:April 17, 1894 Kalinovka, RussiaDEATH DATE: PLACE OF September DEATH: 11, 1971 Moscow, Russia
Nikita Khrushchev became Premier ofthe Soviet Union after Joseph Stalinsdeath in 1953. In a 1956 "secret speech,"he discussed Stalins crimes for the firsttime, starting a process called "de-Stalinization." He also visited theWest, putting a smiling face on his brandof "Reform Communism." Khrushchevflinched first during the Cuban MissileCrisis and oversaw the building of theBerlin Wall.
Climbing up the political ladder• Khrushchev’s rise to power came during Stalin’s bloody purges of the 1930s.• During those years he was a staunch Stalin supporter, taking part in his repressions.• During World War II Khrushchev served as a political commissar in the army, spurring the resistance of civilians while liaising with Stalin and top party members, and acting as political advisor during the crucial defence of Stalingrad (now Volgograd) that marked the turning point of the war.
The thaw• In 1956 he kicked off a campaign of “de-Stalinisation”.• His secret speech to a closed session of the 20th Communist Party Congress, denouncing Stalin’s dictatorial rule, caused a storm.• The so-called “Khrushchev’s Thaw” followed, meaning less political control and censorship, and more openness and a rise in living standards.• The USSR also saw the release of millions of political prisoners.
The KGBEstablished on March 13, 1954• the State Security Committee known for its Russian abbreviation KGB , became one of the USSR’s most vital agencies and an internationally-known brand name.
Persecution of the Church• But Khrushchev’s “thaw” wasn’t without a dark side.• He renewed a campaign of persecution against the Russian Orthodox Church, publicly promising to show the last remaining priest on Soviet television.• During his time in office, the USSR also suffered a major agricultural disaster.
The maize campaign• ambitious initiative, known as the Virgin Lands Campaign,• was started in 1954 to open up vast tracts of unsown steppe in Kazakhstan and Russia’s Altay region.• Initial successes of the programme rapidly turned sour.• In a failed attempt to resolve the USSR’s agricultural troubles, Khrushchev ordered the widespread planting of maize, and became known as kukuruznik – “the maize enthusiast”, derived from the Russian word for maize – kukuruza.
Foreign policy• Khrushchev’s leadership was also marked by a series of high- profile international crises.• While championing change, he wouldn’t tolerate dissent. Khrushchev sent in tanks to Budapest, ruthlessly suppressing a 1956 Hungarian uprising against Soviet-imposed policies.• There was also the shooting down of an American U2 spy- plane over the Soviet Union in 1960, the building of the notorious Berlin Wall in 1961 and the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, which brought the world to the brink of nuclear war.• Yet, Khrushchev also attempted to pursue a policy of co- existence with the West. This shift in doctrine and his rejection of Stalinism led to a split with Communist China in 1960.
Succession and death• By 1964, Khrushchev’s blunders and perceived failures had alienated much of the party elite. He was ousted by opponents led by his own protégé, Leonid Brezhnev. In retirement, Khrushchev was fond of reading and gardening.• He died of a heart attack in September 1971 in Moscow. While most Soviet leaders before and after him were buried by the Kremlin Wall, Khrushchev was denied a state funeral and laid to rest at Moscow’s Novodevichy Cemetery.