Nikita Khrushchev

Nikita Khrushchev
Никита Хрущёв
Bundesarchiv Bild 183-B0628-0015-035, Nikita S. Chruschtschow.jpg
Khrushchev in East Berlin in 1963
First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union
In office
14 September 1953 – 14 October 1964
Preceded byGeorgy Malenkov (de facto)
Succeeded byLeonid Brezhnev
Chairman of the Council of Ministers
of the Soviet Union
In office
27 March 1958 – 14 October 1964
First Deputies
Preceded byNikolai Bulganin
Succeeded byAlexei Kosygin
Personal details
Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev

(1894-04-15)15 April 1894
Kalinovka, Kursk Governorate, Russian Empire
Died11 September 1971(1971-09-11) (aged 77)
Moscow, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union
Political partyCommunist Party of the Soviet Union
  • Yulia Khrushchev (1915–81)
  • Leonid (1917–43)
  • Rada Khrushchev (1929–2016)
  • Sergei (1935–present)
  • Elena Khrushchev (1937–72)
Alma materIndustrial Academy
AwardsHero of the Soviet Union
Hero of Socialist Labor (thrice)
SignatureA scrawled "Н Хрущёв"
Military service
AllegianceSoviet Union
Branch/serviceRed Army
Years of service1941–45
RankLieutenant General
CommandsSoviet Armed Forces
Battles/warsWorld War II

Leader of the Soviet Union

Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev[a] (15 April 1894 – 11 September 1971)[1][2] was a Soviet statesman who led the Soviet Union during part of the Cold War as the First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1953 to 1964, and as Chairman of the Council of Ministers, or Premier, from 1958 to 1964. Khrushchev was responsible for the de-Stalinization of the Soviet Union, for backing the progress of the early Soviet space program, and for several relatively liberal reforms in areas of domestic policy. Khrushchev's party colleagues removed him from power in 1964, replacing him with Leonid Brezhnev as First Secretary and Alexei Kosygin as Premier.

Khrushchev was born in 1894 in the village of Kalinovka, which is close to the present-day border between Russia and Ukraine. He was employed as a metal worker during his youth, and he was a political commissar during the Russian Civil War. With the help of Lazar Kaganovich, he worked his way up the Soviet hierarchy. He supported Joseph Stalin's purges, and approved thousands of arrests. In 1938, Stalin sent him to govern Ukraine, and he continued the purges there. During what was known in the Soviet Union as the Great Patriotic War (Eastern Front of World War II), Khrushchev was again a commissar, serving as an intermediary between Stalin and his generals. Khrushchev was present at the bloody defense of Stalingrad, a fact he took great pride in throughout his life. After the war, he returned to Ukraine before being recalled to Moscow as one of Stalin's close advisers.

On 5 March 1953, the death of Stalin triggered a power struggle in which Khrushchev emerged victorious after consolidating his leadership of the party with that of the Council of Ministers. On 25 February 1956, at the 20th Party Congress, he delivered the "Secret Speech", which denounced Stalin's purges and ushered in a less repressive era in the Soviet Union. His domestic policies, aimed at bettering the lives of ordinary citizens, were often ineffective, especially in agriculture. Hoping eventually to rely on missiles for national defense, Khrushchev ordered major cuts in conventional forces. Despite the cuts, Khrushchev's rule saw the most tense years of the Cold War, culminating in the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Khrushchev's popularity was eroded by flaws in his policies. This emboldened his potential opponents, who quietly rose in strength and deposed the Premier in October 1964. However, he did not suffer the deadly fate of previous Soviet power struggles, and was pensioned off with an apartment in Moscow and a dacha in the countryside. His lengthy memoirs were smuggled to the West and published in part in 1970. Khrushchev died in 1971 of a heart attack.

Early years

External video
Part One of Booknotes interview with William Taubman on Khrushchev: The Man and His Era, 20 April 2003, Part Two of Booknotes interview with Taubman, 27 April 2003, C-SPAN

Khrushchev was born on 15 April 1894,[b][3] in Kalinovka,[4] a village in what is now Russia's Kursk Oblast, near the present Ukrainian border.[5] His parents, Sergei Khrushchev and Xeniya Khrushcheva, were poor peasants of Russian[5][6] origin, and had a daughter two years Nikita's junior, Irina.[3] Sergei Khrushchev was employed in a number of positions in the Donbas area of far eastern Ukraine, working as a railwayman, as a miner, and labouring in a brick factory. Wages were much higher in the Donbas than in the Kursk region, and Sergei Khrushchev generally left his family in Kalinovka, returning there when he had enough money.[7]

Kalinovka was a peasant village; Khrushchev's teacher, Lydia Shevchenko, later stated that she had never seen a village as poor as Kalinovka had been.[8] Nikita worked as a herdsboy from an early age. He was schooled for a total of four years, part in the village parochial school and part under Shevchenko's tutelage in Kalinovka's state school. According to Khrushchev in his memoirs, Shevchenko was a freethinker who upset the villagers by not attending church, and when her brother visited, he gave the boy books which had been banned by the Imperial Government.[9] She urged Nikita to seek further education, but family finances did not permit this.[9]

In 1908, Sergei Khrushchev moved to the Donbas city of Yuzovka (now Donetsk, Ukraine); fourteen-year-old Nikita followed later that year, while Ksenia Khrushcheva and her daughter came after.[10] Yuzovka, which was renamed Stalino in 1924 and Donetsk in 1961, was at the heart of one of the most industrialized areas of the Russian Empire.[10] After the boy worked briefly in other fields, Khrushchev's parents found him a place as a metal fitter's apprentice. Upon completing that apprenticeship, the teenage Khrushchev was hired by a factory.[11] He lost that job when he collected money for the families of the victims of the Lena Goldfields Massacre, and was hired to mend underground equipment by a mine in nearby Rutchenkovo,[12] where his father was the union organiser, and he helped distribute copies and organise public readings of Pravda.[13] He later stated that he considered emigrating to the United States for better wages, but did not do so.[14]

Khrushchev and his first wife Euphrasinia (Yefrosinia) in 1916

When World War I broke out in 1914, Khrushchev was exempt from conscription because he was a skilled metal worker. He was employed by a workshop that serviced ten mines, and he was involved in several strikes that demanded higher pay, better working conditions, and an end to the war.[15] In 1914, he married Yefrosinia Pisareva, daughter of the lift operator at the Rutchenkovo mine. In 1915, they had a daughter, Yulia, and in 1917, a son, Leonid.[16]

After the abdication of Tsar Nicholas II in 1917, the new Russian Provisional Government in Petrograd had little influence over Ukraine. Khrushchev was elected to the worker's council (or soviet) in Rutchenkovo, and in May he became its chairman.[17] He did not join the Bolsheviks until 1918, a year in which the Russian Civil War, between the Bolsheviks and a coalition of opponents known as the White Army, began in earnest. His biographer, William Taubman, suggests that Khrushchev's delay in affiliating himself with the Bolsheviks was because he felt closer to the Mensheviks who prioritised economic progress, whereas the Bolsheviks sought political power.[18] In his memoirs, Khrushchev indicated that he waited because there were many groups, and it was difficult to keep them all straight.[18]

In March 1918, as the Bolshevik government concluded a separate peace with the Central Powers, the Germans occupied the Donbas and Khrushchev fled to Kalinovka. In late 1918 or early 1919 he was mobilized into the Red Army as a political commissar.[19] The post of political commissar had recently been introduced as the Bolsheviks came to rely less on worker activists and more on military recruits; its functions included indoctrination of recruits in the tenets of Bolshevism, and promoting troop morale and battle readiness.[20] Beginning as commissar to a construction platoon, Khrushchev rose to become commissar to a construction battalion and was sent from the front for a two-month political course. The young commissar came under fire many times,[21] though many of the war stories he would tell in later life dealt more with his (and his troops') cultural awkwardness, rather than with combat.[20] In 1921, the civil war ended, and Khrushchev was demobilised and assigned as commissar to a labour brigade in the Donbas, where he and his men lived in poor conditions.[20]

The wars had caused widespread devastation and famine, and one of the victims of the hunger and disease was Khrushchev's wife, Yefrosinia, who died of typhus in Kalinovka while Khrushchev was in the army. The commissar returned for the funeral and, loyal to his Bolshevik principles, refused to allow his wife's coffin to enter the local church. With the only way into the churchyard through the church, he had the coffin lifted and passed over the fence into the burial ground, shocking the village.[20]

Other Languages
aragonés: Nikita Kruschev
asturianu: Nikita Jrushchov
Aymar aru: Nikita Jrushchov
azərbaycanca: Nikita Xruşşov
Bân-lâm-gú: Nikita Khrushchyov
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Мікіта Хрушчоў
български: Никита Хрушчов
Gàidhlig: Nikita Hruŝëv
客家語/Hak-kâ-ngî: Nikita Khrushchev
Bahasa Indonesia: Nikita Khrushchev
Kiswahili: Nikita Krushchov
Кыргызча: Никита Хрущёв
لۊری شومالی: نیکیتا خئروشچوف
la .lojban.: nikitas. xrucof.
македонски: Никита Хрушчов
მარგალური: ნიკიტა ხრუშჩოვი
مازِرونی: خروشچف
Bahasa Melayu: Nikita Khrushchev
မြန်မာဘာသာ: နီကီတာ ခရုရှော့
norsk nynorsk: Nikita Khrusjtsjov
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Nikita Xrushchyov
português: Nikita Khrushchov
Runa Simi: Nikita Kruschev
Simple English: Nikita Khrushchev
slovenščina: Nikita Hruščov
српски / srpski: Никита Хрушчов
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Nikita Hruščov
татарча/tatarça: Никита Хрущёв
文言: 赫魯曉夫
粵語: 赫魯曉夫
žemaitėška: Nikita Chruščiovs