Today finishing up my review of this piece about Beria, and then moving on to this piece, also about Beria, and also written by Evgeny Krutikov. Both pieces lead with photos of Beria petting Stalin’s daughter, Svetlana. In the first photo Papa Stalin sits in the background, at a veranda table, hard at work and smoking his pipe, oblivious to all the scheming going on around him, while some random guy sits nearby, wearing headphones and rocking to his jam. Little Svetlana wears pigtails and looks quite mischievous, like she and Uncle Lavrenty are plotting something together, probably against Papa. Probably de-Papa-ization.
In the second photo, the two chums are romping together in what looks to be a meadow. Sveta’s hair is different: a cute bob now, instead of pigtails, and she wears a sweet little bonnet. Once again, she and Uncle Lavrenty seem to share a secret — most likely a plan to bring Democracy to the USSR.
So what were Beria’s big plans for internal reform? Krutikov asks. What would his variety of “de-Stalinization” (not to be confused with “de-salinization”) look like? Barely had rigor mortis set in on The Great Leader’s corpse, before Beria was on the move. He had to act quickly, and he knew it: His rivals in the Politburo were not sleeping either. Who knows what would have happened, had Beria won the Survivor Challenge? Would he have dispatched the Krushchev-Bulganin team off to Magadan? A lot of free berths were opening up there, due to the penal reforms and the freeing of a full 50% of the “Repressed”. Who knows? What is known is that for decades Beria had been collecting volumes of kompromat on Khrushchev and the others.
For sure, Beria had his clique too, but there was no one among them who had the intellectual chops to formulate an actual working plan for Perestroika. The Soviet Union, both internally and externally, was facing a swarm of problems that needed a timely solution. In the spring and summer of 1953 Beria quickly took up arms against a sea of troubles, then started randomly tossing a lot of slings and arrows at these troubles. For example, his proposed plan to give passports to peasants. If this had been the United States, then he would have come up with a catchy slogan, like “Passports For Peasants!”
Krutikov concludes, that there is, as Mr. Spock might say, “insufficient data” to judge Beria’s plans for internal reform; and whether he might have been That Hero who saved the day and brought Democracy to the post-Stalin USSR. In fact, had Beria become the national leader, instead of Khrushchev, then maybe things would have gotten even worse – who knows? Although it has to be said that Beria was a less blood-thirsty man than his predecessor, Nikolai Yezhov. Which is like damning with faint praise…
How Did Beria Factor Into the Dissolution of the USSR?
The short answer is: Not at all. As commenter to the piece Alexander Serkov counters: “Beria had nothing to do with it. Blame the three pederasts, Gorbachov, Yakovlev and Yeltsin.”
Which is a fair analysis (and got 4 “likes”, 5 if you include mine), but still we must give Krutikov his due and try to follow his reasoning in his second Beria piece, from 29 March 2019. So here goes:
120 years ago, in the small Mingrel village of Merkheul, which hangs off of the mountains over Sukhum, was born the child Lavrenty Pavles dze Beria (Russianized form: Lavrentiy Pavlovich).
In December of last year (2018), the All-Russian Atomic Research Center celebrated the 70th anniversary of the test of the first Soviet atom bomb. They published a calendar which included a photo of Beria in his Marshal’s Parade Uniform. Beria had been the leader of the Atom Project.
It is, of course, impossible to even speak about Beria at all, without arousing a slew of emotions in people. But one feature must be brought to light. There is a story that must be told, and that story includes a factor which influenced the entire history of the USSR and ultimately led to its dissolution.
At the 19th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (1952), Beria (who was a member of the Politburo) stood up and gave a speech on foreign policy. He blasted the U.S. and spoke of the impermissibility of nuclear blackmail (which was why the Soviet Union had to build its own atom bomb). But in a different part of his aria Beria sung a more conciliatory note; he was the first person in the world to offer up this new theory of “Peaceful Coexistence” of governments with different socio-economic systems. In other words: Why can’t Socialist countries just live in peace with Capitalist countries, neither bothering the other? Later, Khrushchev was to steal Beria’s idea and terminology, and take credit for the theory of Peaceful Coexistence.
[yalensis: IMHO Either way, whether the idea was Beria’s or Khrushchev’s — more than likely it was actually Stalin’s idea — and was a stupid idea anyhow, since the U.S. ruling class is incapable of peacefully coexisting with anybody else on the planet, just sayin’…]
And then the most interesting part of the speech: Beria suddenly turned tack and started blasting “Great Russian Chauvinism”. As if Lenin was suddenly reborn in a seance and started channeling through the Mingrel. Well, and this was coming not long after Stalin’s last senile crusade against “Rootless Cosmopolitans”, i.e., some Jews who had ticked him off. Say, what is going on here? Are the various ethnic groups going to be at each others throats now? Can’t we all just get along?
[to be continued]