A New Look At Beria – Part XI

без рода и племени

that’s an expression from Old Russian that people don’t use much in daily speech any more.  Well, maybe they do now, after watching the Godunov TV miniseries.  It literally means “without birth or tribe”.  This is the sneering description of “upstarts” from the commoners who get good jobs in government and start to think of themselves as “just as good as” or “even better than” their betters from the traditional nobility.  This imprecation is sneered in the general direction of our future Tsar, Boris Godunov, who came from a family not much higher than actual peasants.  And thought himself the equal of blue-bloods such as the Shuiskys – egads!

Who is worthy to mount the throne?

But at least Boris was (mostly) Russian, give him that.  Not like Lavrenty Beria, the mongrel from Mingrelia.  Who thought to place himself on the throne allocated to the Emperor of All Russia.

And so Evgeny Krutikov ends his opus with the equivalent of a poison pen letter to Beria.  Descending from his high-minded journalistic objectivity to lash that evil Mongrel who thwarted good ethnic Russians (like Grandpapa!) who were only trying to reform, and save, the Soviet Union!

The Upstart
Beria’s father Pavle (Russianized to Pavel) had settled in the Abkhazian village of Merkeul with nothing except the shirt on his back.  The locals living there now, both Abkhazians and Mingrels, take no pride in the birthplace of Stalin’s henchman.

Growing up desperately poor, Lavrenty himself started spreading rumors that he was of noble birth:  supposedly his mom, Marta Ddzakeli, came from the Mingrel princely family of Dadiani, who had reigned in two separate dynasties.  Whether this was true, or Beria was just living some kind of fantasy life, nobody knows for sure.  The fact is, that their family was so poor, that Marta had to sell her children from her first marriage.  To her own elder brother.  Lavrenty, her son from the second marriage to Pavle, was class conscious and didn’t seem to glory in being a commoner.  Not only did he claim to be of princely birth, but upon growing up he demonstratively married an actual Mingrel Princess, Nino Gegechkori, the daughter of Prince Teimuraz Gegechkori and Princess Dariko Chikovani.

Princess Helen and her son Rostom, of the Dadiani dynasty

According to this piece, Nino and Lavrenty were happily married for 30 years, and she always defended him against the accusations lobbed in his general direction.  The pair met when she was only 16 and he was 22.  Doing the math (Beria was born in 1899), that would have been in 1921 or 1922, after the Revolution, and when it was actually okay (even encouraged) to be a lowly worker or peasant.  Nino truly loved Lavrenty, she married him before he was powerful (although, to be sure, he was up and coming, and about to be sent to Belgium for education in the oil business), and she refuted rumors that he had kidnapped her.  (In the Caucasus, bridegrooms sometimes put on a show of pretending to kidnap their brides, it’s all part of the fun, but sometimes you don’t know if it’s real or not.)

Much later, after Beria’s arrest and fall from power, the Khrushchevite faction arrested Nino and their son Sergo.  They were detained for over a year in separate solitary confinement.  Nino was interrogated every day and pressured to give evidence about her husband’s alleged “crimes”, but she resisted bravely and never gave testimony against her hubby.

Lavrenty and Nino: Happily married for 30 years

And this is the strong woman, a staunch wife who “stood by her man”, whom Krutikov dismisses in passing, insinuating that Beria only loved her for her blue blood.  After 16 months of detention, Nino was finally released and exiled to Sverdlovsk.  Fulfilling the detention term, she and son Sergo finally settled in Kiev.  Those who knew her in her glory days, describe her as a very kind and intelligent woman, not to mention among the most beautiful of the Kremlin Wives.  In 1990 a now-elderly Nino gave an interview to the Russian press, in which she continued to dismiss the notion that Beria had been a traitor to the USSR.  “In 1953,” according to Nino, “the coup happened.  People were afraid that after Stalin’s death, Beria would take his [Stalin’s] place.  I know my husband:  he was a practical-minded man, and he understood that after Stalin there would not be another Gruzian as the head of state.  That would have been impossible.  That’s why, I think, he formed an alliance with Malenkov.”

Returning to Krutikov’s poison pen:  “For such men as Beria, men without birth or family (без рода и племени), men who grew up in abject poverty, it was considered chic in Soviet Gruzia to take a wife from among the traditional nobility, as if to place oneself in the same ranks with the aristocracy.

“And with roughly the same way of thinking on an all-Union scale, considering himself to be above history, above the Russian national experience and mentality.  In this respect Stalin was way more perceptive, understanding that the national and government disproportions in the Soviet Union were critically dangerous.  But it was precisely this Russian Question which represented, for the Communists/Internationalists the barrier which they were never able to surmount in the space of the former Empire.”

And thus Krutikov accuses the upstart Beria of willfully misunderstanding the “Russian mentality”; of laying down a mine with a long-delayed fuse; which in the end destroyed the Soviet Union.  The Union could have been saved, according to Krutikov, had the Russian Republic been granted more autonomy; the consolidation of Russian statehood might have held together the center and thwarted the centrifugal forces.  Falcon in the gyre, and all that jazz.

Is Krutikov right?  Maybe.  Maybe not.  Commenter Andrei counters with:

Берия вам значит теперь виноват ,..продажная полит элитка того времени продала страну ради личных амбиций ,и они же теперь на Лаврентия вешают ,.дат он мало вас собак сажал…

You say that Beria is guilty of everything… the sell-out political elite of that time sold off the country for their personal ambitions, and now they want to hang everything on Beria, obviously he didn’t arrest enough of you dogs when he had the chance…


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5 Responses to A New Look At Beria – Part XI

  1. Pavlo Svolochenko says:

    The real lesson here is that Georgia and all the other leech republics owe reparations to Russia.

    First, the economic value of what was squandered on them, which is itself tremendous, but also the opportunity cost- the value of what might of been created had Russian wealth not been wasted on hillbillies and backwoodsmen.

    Since this amount is unquantifiable, eternal slavery for all Georgians, Latvians and other parasites is the only fair and just option going forward.

    Incidentally, I know a Georgian who looks almost exactly like Beria. Nobody else seems to notice.


    • yalensis says:

      Ooh, do tell! Who is that Gruzian of your personal acquaintance? Does he wear a pince-nez and molest little girls?


      • Pavlo Svolochenko says:

        Just a humble churchgoer. Terribly small fellow – are all Georgians so diminutive?

        I can’t imagine anyone but a time traveller from the 50s wearing one of those and as to the other question… I don’t follow him around all day observing his doings, but my guess would be no.


        • yalensis says:

          I have not done a scientific study of the average height and build of Gruzians. But my educated guess is that the Kartvelians are all big and blustery, whereas the Mingreli are tiny delicate creatures.


          • Pavlo Svolochenko says:

            I’d ask which he is, but even the most mild-mannered mountain folk are known to take such questions as insulting intrusions.


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