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Lavrentiy Beria

Lavrentiy Beria

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Lavrentiy Pavlovich Beria was a Georgian
Georgian people
The Georgians are an ethnic group that have originated in Georgia, where they constitute a majority of the population. Large Georgian communities are also present throughout Russia, European Union, United States, and South America....

 Soviet
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 politician and state security
State Security
State Security can refer to:* general concepts of security agency or national security* Committee for State Security * State Security * State Security...

 administrator, chief of the Soviet security and secret police
Secret police
Secret police are a police agency which operates in secrecy and beyond the law to protect the political power of an individual dictator or an authoritarian political regime....

 apparatus (NKVD
NKVD
The People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs was the public and secret police organization of the Soviet Union that directly executed the rule of power of the Soviets, including political repression, during the era of Joseph Stalin....

) under Joseph Stalin
Joseph Stalin
Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin was the Premier of the Soviet Union from 6 May 1941 to 5 March 1953. He was among the Bolshevik revolutionaries who brought about the October Revolution and had held the position of first General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union's Central Committee...

 during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, and Deputy Premier in the postwar years (1946-1953).

Beria was the longest lived and most influential of Stalin's secret police chiefs, wielding his most substantial influence during and after World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. He simultaneously administered vast sections of the Soviet state and served as de facto Marshal of the Soviet Union
Marshal of the Soviet Union
Marshal of the Soviet Union was the de facto highest military rank of the Soviet Union. ....

 in command of the NKVD field units, responsible for anti-partisan operations against anti-Soviet ethnic groups and Nazi collaborators, and the apprehension and summary execution
Summary execution
A summary execution is a variety of execution in which a person is killed on the spot without trial or after a show trial. Summary executions have been practiced by the police, military, and paramilitary organizations and are associated with guerrilla warfare, counter-insurgency, terrorism, and...

 of thousands of "turncoats, deserters, cowards and suspected malingerers". Beria administered the vast expansion of the Gulag
Gulag
The Gulag was the government agency that administered the main Soviet forced labor camp systems. While the camps housed a wide range of convicts, from petty criminals to political prisoners, large numbers were convicted by simplified procedures, such as NKVD troikas and other instruments of...

 slave labor camps, and was primarily responsible for the Katyn massacre
Katyn massacre
The Katyn massacre, also known as the Katyn Forest massacre , was a mass execution of Polish nationals carried out by the People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs , the Soviet secret police, in April and May 1940. The massacre was prompted by Lavrentiy Beria's proposal to execute all members of...

. He also played the decisive role in coordinating the Soviet partisans
Soviet partisans
The Soviet partisans were members of a resistance movement which fought a guerrilla war against the Axis occupation of the Soviet Union during World War II....

, developing an impressive intelligence and sabotage network behind German lines, thus contributing mightily to the ultimate Soviet victory. He attended the Yalta Conference
Yalta Conference
The Yalta Conference, sometimes called the Crimea Conference and codenamed the Argonaut Conference, held February 4–11, 1945, was the wartime meeting of the heads of government of the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union, represented by President Franklin D...

 with Stalin, who introduced him to U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin Delano Roosevelt , also known by his initials, FDR, was the 32nd President of the United States and a central figure in world events during the mid-20th century, leading the United States during a time of worldwide economic crisis and world war...

 as "my Himmler
Heinrich Himmler
Heinrich Luitpold Himmler was Reichsführer of the SS, a military commander, and a leading member of the Nazi Party. As Chief of the German Police and the Minister of the Interior from 1943, Himmler oversaw all internal and external police and security forces, including the Gestapo...

". After the war, he organized the communist takeover of the countries of Central Europe
Central Europe
Central Europe or alternatively Middle Europe is a region of the European continent lying between the variously defined areas of Eastern and Western Europe...

 and Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe is the eastern part of Europe. The term has widely disparate geopolitical, geographical, cultural and socioeconomic readings, which makes it highly context-dependent and even volatile, and there are "almost as many definitions of Eastern Europe as there are scholars of the region"...

, usually through coup d'etat
Coup d'état
A coup d'état state, literally: strike/blow of state)—also known as a coup, putsch, and overthrow—is the sudden, extrajudicial deposition of a government, usually by a small group of the existing state establishment—typically the military—to replace the deposed government with another body; either...

. Beria's uncompromising ruthlessness in his duties and skill at producing results by intimidating his subordinates culminated in his success in overseeing the Soviet atomic bomb project
Soviet atomic bomb project
The Soviet project to develop an atomic bomb , was a clandestine research and development program began during and post-World War II, in the wake of the Soviet Union's discovery of the United States' nuclear project...

. Stalin gave it absolute priority and the project was completed in under five years, despite the purge of leading physicists in the late 1930s. Forming an alliance with Georgy Malenkov
Georgy Malenkov
Georgy Maximilianovich Malenkov was a Soviet politician, Communist Party leader and close collaborator of Joseph Stalin. After Stalin's death, he became Premier of the Soviet Union and was in 1953 briefly considered the most powerful Soviet politician before being overshadowed by Nikita...

, Beria personally controlled the NKVD; his violent nature made him feared and notorious even among other Politburo
Politburo
Politburo , literally "Political Bureau [of the Central Committee]," is the executive committee for a number of communist political parties.-Marxist-Leninist states:...

 members, whose wives, family members and friends were often arrested by Beria's NKVD in retaliation for opposing his political manoeuvres.

Beria was widely seen as the most dangerous and ambitious of Stalin's inner circle during his final years. As he had promised, after Stalin's death in 1953, Beria elevated himself to First Deputy Premier, where he carried out a brief campaign of liberalization. The economic realities of the Soviet alliance with the West during World War II, as well as Stalin's especially irrational hatred in his final years, had disillusioned Beria for ideology; he spoke of "de-Bolshevization" and craved the renewed wealth and resources which a lucrative strategic peace with the US would provide. He was briefly a part of the ruling "troika
Troika
The general meaning of the Russian and Bulgarian word troika is three of a kind, a collection of three or simply the number three. It may also mean:-Politics:* Troika of judges or political leaders...

" with Georgy Malenkov
Georgy Malenkov
Georgy Maximilianovich Malenkov was a Soviet politician, Communist Party leader and close collaborator of Joseph Stalin. After Stalin's death, he became Premier of the Soviet Union and was in 1953 briefly considered the most powerful Soviet politician before being overshadowed by Nikita...

 and Vyacheslav Molotov
Vyacheslav Molotov
Vyacheslav Mikhailovich Molotov was a Soviet politician and diplomat, an Old Bolshevik and a leading figure in the Soviet government from the 1920s, when he rose to power as a protégé of Joseph Stalin, to 1957, when he was dismissed from the Presidium of the Central Committee by Nikita Khrushchev...

. Beria's overconfidence in his position after Stalin's death led him to misjudge the feelings of his associates, many of whom still had relatives in his prisons. In addition, his proposals to free East Germany and normalize relations with the United States alarmed other Politburo members, especially in the wake of the 1953 East German uprising
Uprising of 1953 in East Germany
The Uprising of 1953 in East Germany started with a strike by East Berlin construction workers on June 16. It turned into a widespread anti-Stalinist uprising against the German Democratic Republic government the next day....

 which was put down only after an invasion by Soviet troops. Led by Nikita Khrushchev
Nikita Khrushchev
Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev led the Soviet Union during part of the Cold War. He served as 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...

 and assisted by the military forces of the immensely influential Marshal Georgy Zhukov
Georgy Zhukov
Marshal of the Soviet Union Georgy Konstantinovich Zhukov , was a Russian career officer in the Red Army who, in the course of World War II, played a pivotal role in leading the Red Army through much of Eastern Europe to liberate the Soviet Union and other nations from the Axis Powers' occupation...

, they formed an alliance to remove and kill Beria. In that same year, he was arrested on trumped-up charges of treason
Treason
In law, treason is the crime that covers some of the more extreme acts against one's sovereign or nation. Historically, treason also covered the murder of specific social superiors, such as the murder of a husband by his wife. Treason against the king was known as high treason and treason against a...

 by Zhukov's soldiers during a meeting in which the full Politburo condemned him. The compliance of the NKVD was ensured by Zhukov's troops, and after interrogation by his own NKVD torturers, Beria was taken to the basement of the Lubyanka and shot by General Pavel Batitsky
Pavel Batitsky
Pavel Fyodorovich Batitsky was a Soviet military leader awarded the highest honorary title of Hero of the Soviet Union in 1965 and appointed Marshal of the Soviet Union in 1968...

.

Early life and rise to power


Beria was born out of wedlock in Merkheuli, near Sukhumi
Sukhumi
Sukhumi is the capital of Abkhazia, a disputed region on the Black Sea coast. The city suffered heavily during the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict in the early 1990s.-Naming:...

, in the Sukhumi district
Abkhazia
Abkhazia is a disputed political entity on the eastern coast of the Black Sea and the south-western flank of the Caucasus.Abkhazia considers itself an independent state, called the Republic of Abkhazia or Apsny...

 of Kutaisi governorate of modern Abkhazia
Abkhazia
Abkhazia is a disputed political entity on the eastern coast of the Black Sea and the south-western flank of the Caucasus.Abkhazia considers itself an independent state, called the Republic of Abkhazia or Apsny...

 (then part of Imperial Russia
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

). He was a member of the Georgian
Georgians
The Georgians are an ethnic group that have originated in Georgia, where they constitute a majority of the population. Large Georgian communities are also present throughout Russia, European Union, United States, and South America....

 Mingrelian
Mingrelians
The Mingrelians are a subethnic group of Georgians that mostly live in Samegrelo region of Georgia. They also live in considerable numbers in Abkhazia and Tbilisi...

 ethnic group and grew up in a Georgian Orthodox family. Beria's mother, Marta Ivanovna, was a deeply religious, church-going woman (she spent so much time in church that she died there); she was previously married and widowed before marrying Beria's father, Pavel Khukhaevich Beria, a landowner from Abkhazia
Abkhazia
Abkhazia is a disputed political entity on the eastern coast of the Black Sea and the south-western flank of the Caucasus.Abkhazia considers itself an independent state, called the Republic of Abkhazia or Apsny...

. He also had a brother (name unknown), and a sister named Anna who was born deaf-mute. In his biography, he mentioned only his sister and his niece, implying that his brother (or any other siblings for that matter) either was dead or had no relationship with Beria after he left Merkheuli. Beria was educated at a technical school in Sukhumi and joined the Bolshevik
Bolshevik
The Bolsheviks, originally also Bolshevists , derived from bol'shinstvo, "majority") were a faction of the Marxist Russian Social Democratic Labour Party which split apart from the Menshevik faction at the Second Party Congress in 1903....

s in March 1917 while a student in the Baku
Baku
Baku , sometimes spelled as Baki or Bakou, is the capital and largest city of Azerbaijan, as well as the largest city on the Caspian Sea and of the Caucasus region. It is located on the southern shore of the Absheron Peninsula, which projects into the Caspian Sea. The city consists of two principal...

 Polytechnic
Polytechnic
Polytechnic may refer to:Education:* Institute of technology, and polytechnic, several types of educational institutions, including:** Polytechnic , a higher education institution...

. As a student, Beria trained to be an architect, distinguished himself in mathematics and the sciences, but was considered cunning and devious.

Beria hedged his bets by also working for the anti Bolshevik Mussavists in Baku
Baku
Baku , sometimes spelled as Baki or Bakou, is the capital and largest city of Azerbaijan, as well as the largest city on the Caspian Sea and of the Caucasus region. It is located on the southern shore of the Absheron Peninsula, which projects into the Caspian Sea. The city consists of two principal...

. After the city's capture in April 1920, Beria was saved from execution only because there was no time to arrange it and Sergei Kirov saved him. While in prison he fell in love with Nina Gegechkori, his cellmate's niece, they eloped on a train. She was 17, a trained scientist from an aristocratic family. She was fanatically loyal, refusing to believe the stories of his womanizing.

In 1919, when he was twenty years old, Beria started his career in state security
State Security
State Security can refer to:* general concepts of security agency or national security* Committee for State Security * State Security * State Security...

, working in the security service of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic
Azerbaijan Democratic Republic
The Azerbaijan Democratic Republic was the first successful attempt to establish a democratic and secular republic in the Muslim world . The ADR was founded on May 28, 1918 after the collapse of the Russian Empire that began with the Russian Revolution of 1917 by Azerbaijani National Council in...

. In 1920 or 1921 (accounts vary), Beria joined the Cheka
Cheka
Cheka was the first of a succession of Soviet state security organizations. It was created by a decree issued on December 20, 1917, by Vladimir Lenin and subsequently led by aristocrat-turned-communist Felix Dzerzhinsky...

 – the original Bolshevik secret police
Secret police
Secret police are a police agency which operates in secrecy and beyond the law to protect the political power of an individual dictator or an authoritarian political regime....

. At that time, a Bolshevik revolt took place in the Menshevik
Menshevik
The Mensheviks were a faction of the Russian revolutionary movement that emerged in 1904 after a dispute between Vladimir Lenin and Julius Martov, both members of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party. The dispute originated at the Second Congress of that party, ostensibly over minor issues...

-controlled Democratic Republic of Georgia
Democratic Republic of Georgia
The Democratic Republic of Georgia , 1918–1921, was the first modern establishment of a Republic of Georgia.The DRG was created after the collapse of the Russian Empire that began with the Russian Revolution of 1917...

, and the Red Army
Red Army
The Workers' and Peasants' Red Army started out as the Soviet Union's revolutionary communist combat groups during the Russian Civil War of 1918-1922. It grew into the national army of the Soviet Union. By the 1930s the Red Army was among the largest armies in history.The "Red Army" name refers to...

 subsequently invaded
Red Army invasion of Georgia
The Red Army invasion of Georgia also known as the Soviet–Georgian War or the Soviet invasion of Georgia was a military campaign by the Soviet Russian Red Army against the Democratic Republic of Georgia aimed at overthrowing the Social-Democratic government and installing the Bolshevik regime...

. The Cheka was heavily involved in the conflict, which resulted in the defeat of the Mensheviks and the formation of the Georgian SSR. By 1922, Beria was deputy head of the Georgian branch of Cheka's successor, the OGPU
State Political Directorate
The State Political Directorate was the secret police of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic and the Soviet Union from 1922 until 1934...

.

In 1924, he led the repression of a Georgian nationalist uprising, after which up to 10,000 people were executed. For this display of "Bolshevik ruthlessness", Beria was appointed head of the "secret-political division" of the Transcaucasian
South Caucasus
The South Caucasus is a geopolitical region located on the border of Eastern Europe and Southwest Asia also referred to as Transcaucasia, or The Trans-Caucasus...

 OGPU and was awarded the Order of the Red Banner
Order of the Red Banner
The Soviet government of Russia established the Order of the Red Banner , a military decoration, on September 16, 1918 during the Russian Civil War...

.

In 1926, Beria became head of the Georgian OGPU and was introduced to fellow Georgian Joseph Stalin
Joseph Stalin
Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin was the Premier of the Soviet Union from 6 May 1941 to 5 March 1953. He was among the Bolshevik revolutionaries who brought about the October Revolution and had held the position of first General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union's Central Committee...

 by Sergo Ordzhonikidze head of the Transcaucasian party (Sergo also protected Beria from accusations about his past), becoming an ally in Stalin's rise to power. Some historians however claim that he worked to further his own cause by wooing Stalin in order to gain access to the inner circles of the Soviet regime. During his years at the helm of the Georgian OGPU, Beria effectively destroyed the intelligence networks that Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

 and Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

 had developed in the Soviet Caucasus, while successfully penetrating the governments of these countries with his agents. He also took over Stalin's holiday security. Sergo and Kirov quickly turned against Beria, as did Stalin's wife.

Beria was appointed Secretary of the Communist Party in Georgia in 1931, and for the whole Transcaucasian region in 1932. He became a member of the Central Committee
Central Committee
Central Committee was the common designation of a standing administrative body of communist parties, analogous to a board of directors, whether ruling or non-ruling in the twentieth century and of the surviving, mostly Trotskyist, states in the early twenty first. In such party organizations the...

 of the Communist Party in 1934. During this time, he began to attack fellow members of the Georgian Communist Party, particularly Gaioz Devdariani
Gaioz Devdariani
Gaioz Devdariani was a prominent Georgian revolutionary, Soviet politician, member of the Georgian National Academy of Sciences and a victim of the Great Purge of 1937. Devdariani was born in the village of Kharagauli, Western Georgia into a large family...

, who was Minister of Education of the Georgian SSR. Beria ordered the executions of Devdariani's brothers George and Shalva, who held important positions in the Cheka and the Communist Party, respectively. Eventually, Gaioz Devdariani was charged with violating Article 58
Article 58 (RSFSR Penal Code)
Article 58 of the Russian SFSR Penal Code was put in force on 25 February 1927 to arrest those suspected of counter-revolutionary activities. It was revised several times...

 for alleged counter-revolutionary activities and was executed in 1938 by the orders of the NKVD troika
NKVD troika
NKVD troika or Troika, in Soviet Union history, were commissions of three persons who convicted people without trial. These commissions were employed as an instrument of extrajudicial punishment introduced to circumvent the legal system with a means for quick execution or imprisonment...

. The Great Purge was extremely severe and included not only Georgian communists but also intellectuals, even those without any political views, among them Mikheil Javakhishvili
Mikheil Javakhishvili
Mikheil Javakhishvili was a Georgian novelist who is regarded as one of the top twentieth-century Georgian writers. His first story appeared in 1903, but then the writer lapsed into a long pause before returning to writing in the early 1920s...

, Titsian Tabidze
Titsian Tabidze
Titsian Tabidze was a Georgian poet and one of the leaders of Georgian symbolist movement. He fell victim to Stalin’s Great Purge, being arrested and executed on trumped-up charges of treason. Tabidze was a close friend of the well-known Russian writer Boris Pasternak who translated his poetry...

, Sandro Akhmeteli
Sandro Akhmeteli
Sandro Akhmeteli was a Georgian theater director whose innovative conceptions and skill at mass scenes profoundly influenced the evolution of Soviet and post-Soviet Georgian theater tradition...

, Yevgeni Mikeladze, Dimitri Shevardnadze
Dimitri Shevardnadze
Dimitri Shevardnadze was a Georgian painter, art collector and intellectual purged during the Stalinist repressions....

, George Eliava, Grigol Tsereteli
Grigol Tsereteli
Grigol Tsereteli was a distinguished Georgian scientist, one of the founders of Papyrology, founder of the Georgian scientific school of Classical Philology, Doctor of Philological Sciences, Meritorious Scientific Worker of Georgia, Honourable Professor.- Life and works :Grigol Tsereteli was born...

 and many others. Many non-political working people were also arrested and executed without trial. Even after moving on from Georgia, Beria effectively controlled the Republic's Communist Party until it was purged in July 1953.

By 1935, Beria was one of Stalin's most trusted subordinates. He cemented his place in Stalin's entourage with a lengthy oration titled, "On the History of the Bolshevik Organisations in Transcaucasia" (later published as a book), which fully rewrote the history of Transcaucasian Bolshevism, emphasizing Stalin's role in it. When Stalin's purge of the Communist Party and government began in 1934, after the assassination of Sergey Kirov
Sergey Kirov
Sergei Mironovich Kirov , born Sergei Mironovich Kostrikov, was a prominent early Bolshevik leader in the Soviet Union. Kirov rose through the Communist Party ranks to become head of the Party organization in Leningrad...

, Beria ran the purges in Transcaucasia. He used the opportunity to settle many old scores in the politically turbulent Transcaucasian republics.

In June 1937, he said in a speech, "Let our enemies know that anyone who attempts to raise a hand against the will of our people, against the will of the party of Lenin
Vladimir Lenin
Vladimir Ilyich Lenin was a Russian Marxist revolutionary and communist politician who led the October Revolution of 1917. As leader of the Bolsheviks, he headed the Soviet state during its initial years , as it fought to establish control of Russia in the Russian Civil War and worked to create a...

 and Stalin, will be mercilessly crushed and destroyed."

Beria at the NKVD



In August 1938, Stalin brought Beria to Moscow as deputy head of the People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs (NKVD
NKVD
The People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs was the public and secret police organization of the Soviet Union that directly executed the rule of power of the Soviets, including political repression, during the era of Joseph Stalin....

), the ministry which oversaw the state security
National security
National security is the requirement to maintain the survival of the state through the use of economic, diplomacy, power projection and political power. The concept developed mostly in the United States of America after World War II...

 and police forces. Under Nikolai Yezhov
Nikolai Yezhov
Nikolai Ivanovich Yezhov or Ezhov was a senior figure in the NKVD under Joseph Stalin during the period of the Great Purge. His reign is sometimes known as the "Yezhovshchina" , "the Yezhov era", a term that began to be used during the de-Stalinization campaign of the 1950s...

, the NKVD carried out the Great Purge
Great Purge
The Great Purge was a series of campaigns of political repression and persecution in the Soviet Union orchestrated by Joseph Stalin from 1936 to 1938...

: the imprisonment or execution of millions of people throughout the Soviet Union as alleged "enemies of the people
Enemy of the people
The term enemy of the people is a fluid designation of political or class opponents of the group using the term. The term implies that the "enemies" in question are acting against society as a whole. It is similar to the notion of "enemy of the state". The term originated in Roman times as ,...

". By 1938, however, the oppression had become so extensive that it was damaging the infrastructure, economy and even the armed forces of the Soviet state, prompting Stalin to wind the purge down. Stalin had thoughts to appoint Lazar Kaganovich
Lazar Kaganovich
Lazar Moiseyevich Kaganovich was a Soviet politician and administrator and one of the main associates of Joseph Stalin.-Early life:Kaganovich was born in 1893 to Jewish parents in the village of Kabany, Radomyshl uyezd, Kiev Governorate, Russian Empire...

 as head of the NKVD, but chose Beria probably because he was a professional secret policeman. In September, Beria was appointed head of the Main Administration of State Security (GUGB) of the NKVD, and in November he succeeded Yezhov as NKVD head (Yezhov was executed in 1940). The NKVD was purged next, with half its personnel replaced by Beria loyalists, many of them from the Caucasus
Caucasus
The Caucasus, also Caucas or Caucasia , is a geopolitical region at the border of Europe and Asia, and situated between the Black and the Caspian sea...

.

Although Beria's name is closely identified with the Great Purge because of his activities while deputy head of the NKVD, his leadership of the organisation marked an easing of the repression begun under Yezhov. Over 100,000 people were released from the labour camps. The government officially admitted that there had been some injustice and "excesses" during the purges, which were blamed entirely on Yezhov. The liberalisation was only relative: arrests and executions continued and in 1940, as war approached, the pace of the purges again accelerated. During this period, Beria supervised deportations of people identified as political enemies from Poland and the Baltic states
Baltic states
The term Baltic states refers to the Baltic territories which gained independence from the Russian Empire in the wake of World War I: primarily the contiguous trio of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania ; Finland also fell within the scope of the term after initially gaining independence in the 1920s.The...

 after Soviet occupation of those regions.

In March 1939, Beria became a candidate member of the Communist Party's Politburo
Politburo
Politburo , literally "Political Bureau [of the Central Committee]," is the executive committee for a number of communist political parties.-Marxist-Leninist states:...

. Although he did not become a full member until 1946, he was already one of the senior leaders of the Soviet state. In 1941 Beria was made a Commissar General of State Security, the highest quasi-military rank within the Soviet police system of that time, effectively comparable to Marshal of the Soviet Union
Marshal of the Soviet Union
Marshal of the Soviet Union was the de facto highest military rank of the Soviet Union. ....

.

On 5 March 1940, after Gestapo–NKVD Third Conference held in Zakopane
Zakopane
Zakopane , is a town in southern Poland. It lies in the southern part of the Podhale region at the foot of the Tatra Mountains. From 1975 to 1998 it was in of Nowy Sącz Province, but since 1999 it has been in Lesser Poland Province. It had a population of about 28,000 as of 2004. Zakopane is a...

, Beria sent a note (no. 794/B) to Stalin in which he stated that the Polish prisoners of war (mostly military officers but also intelligentsia: doctors, priests; total of over 22,000) kept at camps and prisons in western Belarus and Ukraine were enemies of the Soviet Union, and recommended their execution. With Stalin's approval, Beria's NKVD undertook the Katyn massacre
Katyn massacre
The Katyn massacre, also known as the Katyn Forest massacre , was a mass execution of Polish nationals carried out by the People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs , the Soviet secret police, in April and May 1940. The massacre was prompted by Lavrentiy Beria's proposal to execute all members of...

.

In October 1940 – February 1942, the NKVD under Beria carried out a new purge
Purge of the Red Army in 1941
Between October 1940 and February 1942, the impending start of the German invasion in June 1941 notwithstanding, the Red Army, in particular the Soviet Air Force, as well as Soviet military-related industries were decapitated by repressions once again...

 of the Red Army and related industries. In February 1941, Beria became Deputy Chairman of the Council of People's Commissars, and in June, following Nazi Germany's invasion of the Soviet Union
Operation Barbarossa
Operation Barbarossa was the code name for Germany's invasion of the Soviet Union during World War II that began on 22 June 1941. Over 4.5 million troops of the Axis powers invaded the USSR along a front., the largest invasion in the history of warfare...

, he became a member of the State Defense Committee (GKO). During World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, he took on major domestic responsibilities, using the millions of people imprisoned in NKVD labour camps for wartime production. He took control of production of armaments, and (with Georgy Malenkov
Georgy Malenkov
Georgy Maximilianovich Malenkov was a Soviet politician, Communist Party leader and close collaborator of Joseph Stalin. After Stalin's death, he became Premier of the Soviet Union and was in 1953 briefly considered the most powerful Soviet politician before being overshadowed by Nikita...

) aircraft and aircraft engines. This was the beginning of Beria's alliance with Malenkov, which later became of central importance.

In 1944, as the Germans were driven from Soviet soil, Beria was in charge of dealing with the various ethnic minorities accused of collaboration with the invaders, including the Chechens
Chechen people
Chechens constitute the largest native ethnic group originating in the North Caucasus region. They refer to themselves as Noxçi . Also known as Sadiks , Gargareans, Malkhs...

, the Ingush
Ingush people
The Ingush are a native ethnic group of the North Caucasus, mostly inhabiting the Russian republic of Ingushetia. They refer to themselves as Ghalghai . The Ingush are predominantly Sunni Muslims and speak the Ingush language...

, the Crimean Tatars
Crimean Tatars
Crimean Tatars or Crimeans are a Turkic ethnic group that originally resided in Crimea. They speak the Crimean Tatar language...

 and the Volga Germans. All these were deported to Soviet Central Asia
Soviet Central Asia
Soviet Central Asia refers to the section of Central Asia formerly controlled by the Soviet Union, as well as the time period of Soviet administration . In terms of area, it is nearly synonymous with Russian Turkestan, the name for the region during the Russian Empire...

. (See "Population transfer in the Soviet Union
Population transfer in the Soviet Union
Population transfer in the Soviet Union may be classified into the following broad categories: deportations of "anti-Soviet" categories of population, often classified as "enemies of workers," deportations of entire nationalities, labor force transfer, and organized migrations in opposite...

".)

In December 1944, Beria's NKVD was assigned to supervise the Soviet atomic bomb project
Soviet atomic bomb project
The Soviet project to develop an atomic bomb , was a clandestine research and development program began during and post-World War II, in the wake of the Soviet Union's discovery of the United States' nuclear project...

 ('Task No. 1), which built and tested a bomb by August 29 1949. In this capacity, he ran the successful Soviet espionage campaign against the atomic weapons program
Manhattan Project
The Manhattan Project was a research and development program, led by the United States with participation from the United Kingdom and Canada, that produced the first atomic bomb during World War II. From 1942 to 1946, the project was under the direction of Major General Leslie Groves of the US Army...

 of the United States, which obtained much of the technology required. His most important contribution was to provide the necessary workforce for this project, which was extremely labor-intensive. At least 330,000 people including 10,000 technicians were involved. The Gulag
Gulag
The Gulag was the government agency that administered the main Soviet forced labor camp systems. While the camps housed a wide range of convicts, from petty criminals to political prisoners, large numbers were convicted by simplified procedures, such as NKVD troikas and other instruments of...

 system provided tens of thousands of people for work in uranium
Uranium
Uranium is a silvery-white metallic chemical element in the actinide series of the periodic table, with atomic number 92. It is assigned the chemical symbol U. A uranium atom has 92 protons and 92 electrons, of which 6 are valence electrons...

 mines, and for the construction and operation of uranium processing plants. They also constructed test facilities, such as those at Semipalatinsk
Semipalatinsk Test Site
The Semipalatinsk Test Site was the primary testing venue for the Soviet Union's nuclear weapons. It is located on the steppe in northeast Kazakhstan , south of the valley of the Irtysh River...

 and in the Novaya Zemlya
Novaya Zemlya
Novaya Zemlya , also known in Dutch as Nova Zembla and in Norwegian as , is an archipelago in the Arctic Ocean in the north of Russia and the extreme northeast of Europe, the easternmost point of Europe lying at Cape Flissingsky on the northern island...

 archipelago. The NKVD also ensured the necessary security of the project. Amazingly, the physicist Pyotr Kapitsa
Pyotr Kapitsa
Pyotr Leonidovich Kapitsa was a prominent Soviet/Russian physicist and Nobel laureate.-Biography:Kapitsa was born in the city of Kronstadt and graduated from the Petrograd Polytechnical Institute in 1918. He worked for over ten years with Ernest Rutherford in the Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge...

 refused to work with Beria even after he gave him a hunting rifle as a gift. It is notable that Stalin backed Kapitsa in this quarrel.

In July 1945, as Soviet police ranks were converted to a military uniform system, Beria's rank was officially converted to that of Marshal of the Soviet Union
Marshal of the Soviet Union
Marshal of the Soviet Union was the de facto highest military rank of the Soviet Union. ....

. Although he had never held a traditional military command, Beria, through his organization of wartime production and his use of partisans, made a significant contribution to the Soviet Union's victory in World War II. Stalin personally never thought much of it, and did not publicly comment on his performance nor award recognition (i.e. Order of Victory
Order of Victory
The Order of Victory was the highest military decoration in the Soviet Union, and one of the rarest orders in the world. The order was awarded only to Generals and Marshals for successfully conducting combat operations involving one or more army groups and resulting in a "successful operation...

) to him as most other Soviet Marshals received.

Postwar politics


With Stalin nearing 70, the postwar years were dominated by a concealed struggle for succession among his supporters. At the end of the war, the most likely successor seemed to be Andrei Zhdanov
Andrei Zhdanov
Andrei Alexandrovich Zhdanov was a Soviet politician.-Life:Zhdanov enlisted with the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party in 1915 and was promoted through the party ranks, becoming the All-Union Communist Party manager in Leningrad after the assassination of Sergei Kirov in 1934...

, party leader in Leningrad
Saint Petersburg
Saint Petersburg is a city and a federal subject of Russia located on the Neva River at the head of the Gulf of Finland on the Baltic Sea...

 during the war, by 1946 in charge of all cultural matters. After 1946 Beria formed an alliance with Malenkov to counter Zhdanov's rise.

In January 1946, Beria resigned as chief of the NKVD, while retaining general control over national security matters as Deputy Prime Minister and as Curator of the Organs of State Security, under Stalin. But the new chief, Sergei Kruglov, was not a Beria man. Also, by the summer of 1946, Beria's man Vsevolod Nikolayevich Merkulov
Vsevolod Nikolayevich Merkulov
Vsevolod Nikolayevich Merkulov , was the head of NKGB from February to July 1941, and again from April 1943 to March 1946. He was a member of the so-called "Georgian mafia" of Lavrenti Beria, head of the NKVD.In 1913, Merkulov graduated from the Tiflis Gymnasium with the gold medal and became a...

 was replaced as head of the MGB with Viktor Abakumov. Abakumov was the head of SMERSH
SMERSH
SMERSH was the counter-intelligence agency in the Red Army formed in late 1942 or even earlier, but officially founded on April 14, 1943. The name SMERSH was coined by Joseph Stalin...

 from 1943-1946; his relationship with Beria was marked by close collaboration (since Abakumov owed his rise to Beria's support and esteem) but also by rivalry. Stalin had begun to encourage Abakumov to form his own network inside the MGB to counter Beria's dominance of the power ministries. . Kruglov and Abakumov moved expeditiously to replace Beria's men in the security apparatus leadership with new people. Very soon MVD
Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs
The Ministerstvo Vnutrennikh Del is the interior ministry of Russia. Its predecessor was founded in 1802 by Alexander I in Imperial Russia...

 Deputy Minister Stepan Mamulov was the only Beria-ist left outside foreign intelligence, on which Beria kept a grip. In the following months, Abakumov started carrying out important operations without consulting Beria, often working in tandem with Zhdanov, and sometimes on Stalin's direct orders. Some observers argue that these operations were aimed – initially tangentially, but with time more directly – at Beria.

One of the first such moves was the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee
Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee
The Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee was formed on Joseph Stalin's order in Kuibyshev in April 1942 with the official support of the Soviet authorities...

 affair that commenced in October 1946 and eventually led to the murder of Solomon Mikhoels
Solomon Mikhoels
Solomon Mikhoels ; was a Soviet Jewish actor and the artistic director of the Moscow State Jewish Theater. Mikhoels served as the chairman of the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee during the Second World War...

 and the arrest of many other members. This affair damaged Beria; not only had he championed creation of the committee in 1942, but his own entourage included a substantial number of Jews.

After Zhdanov died suddenly in August 1948, Beria and Malenkov consolidated their power by a purge of Zhdanov's associates known as the "Leningrad Affair
Leningrad Affair
The Leningrad Affair, or Leningrad case , was a series of criminal cases fabricated in the late 1940s–early 1950s in order to accuse a number of prominent members of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union of treason and intention to create an anti-Soviet organization out of the Leningrad Party...

". Among the executed were Zhdanov's deputy, Aleksei Kuznetsov
Aleksei Kuznetsov
Alexey Alexandrovich Kuznetsov was a Soviet statesman, CPSU functionary, Lieutenant General, member of CPSU Central Committee...

; the economic chief, Nikolai Voznesensky
Nikolai Voznesensky
Nikolai Alekseevich Voznesensky was the Soviet economic planner who oversaw the running of Gosplan during the German-Soviet War. A protégé of Andrei Zhdanov, Voznesensky was appointed Deputy Premier in May 1940 at the age of thirty-eight. He was directly involved in the recovery of production...

; the Party head in Leningrad, Pyotr Popkov; and the Prime Minister of the Russian Republic
Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic
The Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic , commonly referred to as Soviet Russia, Bolshevik Russia, or simply Russia, was the largest, most populous and economically developed republic in the former Soviet Union....

, Mikhail Rodionov
Mikhail Rodionov
Mikhail Ivanovich Rodionov was a Soviet-Russian statesman who was from 1946 to 1949 the Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Russian SFSR, literally meaning Premier or Prime Minister. He was executed in the aftermath of the Leningrad Affair....

. It was only after Zhdanov's death that Nikita Khrushchev
Nikita Khrushchev
Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev led the Soviet Union during part of the Cold War. He served as 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...

 began to be considered as a possible alternative to the Beria-Malenkov axis.

Zhdanov's death did not stop the anti-Semitic campaign. During the postwar years, Beria supervised the successful establishment of Communist regimes in the countries of Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe is the eastern part of Europe. The term has widely disparate geopolitical, geographical, cultural and socioeconomic readings, which makes it highly context-dependent and even volatile, and there are "almost as many definitions of Eastern Europe as there are scholars of the region"...

, usually by coup d'etat
Coup d'état
A coup d'état state, literally: strike/blow of state)—also known as a coup, putsch, and overthrow—is the sudden, extrajudicial deposition of a government, usually by a small group of the existing state establishment—typically the military—to replace the deposed government with another body; either...

, and hand-picked the leaders. A substantial number of these leaders were Jews. Starting in 1948, Abakumov initiated several investigations against these leaders, which culminated with the arrest in November 1951 of Rudolf Slánský
Rudolf Slánský
Rudolf Slánský was a Czech Communist politician. Holding the post of the party's General Secretary after World War II, he was one of the leading creators and organizers of Communist rule in Czechoslovakia...

, Bedřich Geminder, and others in Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia or Czecho-Slovakia was a sovereign state in Central Europe which existed from October 1918, when it declared its independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, until 1992...

. These men were generally accused of Zionism
Zionism
Zionism is a Jewish political movement that, in its broadest sense, has supported the self-determination of the Jewish people in a sovereign Jewish national homeland. Since the establishment of the State of Israel, the Zionist movement continues primarily to advocate on behalf of the Jewish state...

 and cosmopolitanism
Rootless cosmopolitan
Rootless cosmopolitan was a Soviet euphemism widely used during Joseph Stalin's anti-Semitic campaign of 1948–1953, which culminated in the "exposure" of the alleged Doctors' plot...

, but, more specifically, of providing weapons to Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

. From Beria's standpoint, this charge was extremely risky, because large amounts of Czech arms had been sold to Israel on his direct orders. Beria wanted an alliance with Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

 to advance the communist cause in the Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

, while later Soviet leaders chose instead to form a powerful alliance with countries in the Arab World
Arab world
The Arab world refers to Arabic-speaking states, territories and populations in North Africa, Western Asia and elsewhere.The standard definition of the Arab world comprises the 22 states and territories of the Arab League stretching from the Atlantic Ocean in the west to the Arabian Sea in the...

. Altogether, 14 Czechoslovakian Communist leaders, 11 of them Jewish, were tried, convicted, and executed (see Slánský trial). Similar investigations in Poland and other Soviet satellite countries occurred at the same time.

In other international issues, Beria (along with Mikoyan
Mikoyan
Russian Aircraft Corporation MiG , or RSK MiG, is a Russian joint stock company. Formerly Mikoyan-and-Gurevich Design Bureau , then simply Mikoyan, it is a military aircraft design bureau, primarily designing fighter aircraft...

) wisely foresaw the victory of Mao Zedong
Mao Zedong
Mao Zedong, also transliterated as Mao Tse-tung , and commonly referred to as Chairman Mao , was a Chinese Communist revolutionary, guerrilla warfare strategist, Marxist political philosopher, and leader of the Chinese Revolution...

 in the Chinese Civil War
Chinese Civil War
The Chinese Civil War was a civil war fought between the Kuomintang , the governing party of the Republic of China, and the Communist Party of China , for the control of China which eventually led to China's division into two Chinas, Republic of China and People's Republic of...

 and greatly helped the communist success by letting the Communist Party of China
Communist Party of China
The Communist Party of China , also known as the Chinese Communist Party , is the founding and ruling political party of the People's Republic of China...

 use Soviet-occupied Manchuria
Manchuria
Manchuria is a historical name given to a large geographic region in northeast Asia. Depending on the definition of its extent, Manchuria usually falls entirely within the People's Republic of China, or is sometimes divided between China and Russia. The region is commonly referred to as Northeast...

 as a staging area and also by arranging huge weapons shipments to the People's Liberation Army
People's Liberation Army
The People's Liberation Army is the unified military organization of all land, sea, strategic missile and air forces of the People's Republic of China. The PLA was established on August 1, 1927 — celebrated annually as "PLA Day" — as the military arm of the Communist Party of China...

, mainly from the recently captured equipment of the Japanese Kwantung Army . Beria selected Kim Il-sung
Kim Il-sung
Kim Il-sung was a Korean communist politician who led the Democratic People's Republic of Korea from its founding in 1948 until his death in 1994. He held the posts of Prime Minister from 1948 to 1972 and President from 1972 to his death...

 to be the Leader of North Korea
North Korea
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea , , is a country in East Asia, occupying the northern half of the Korean Peninsula. Its capital and largest city is Pyongyang. The Korean Demilitarized Zone serves as the buffer zone between North Korea and South Korea...

 after the Red Army had conquered that country in 1945 , probably because he had no ties to the native Korean communist movement and was thus totally dependent on Moscow. This was critical as Stalin feared another defection like that of Josip Broz Tito
Josip Broz Tito
Marshal Josip Broz Tito – 4 May 1980) was a Yugoslav revolutionary and statesman. While his presidency has been criticized as authoritarian, Tito was a popular public figure both in Yugoslavia and abroad, viewed as a unifying symbol for the nations of the Yugoslav federation...

 after 1948. In later years, the clumsy foreign policy of Nikita Khrushchev
Nikita Khrushchev
Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev led the Soviet Union during part of the Cold War. He served as 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...

 destroyed Beria's achievements in Asia
Asia
Asia is the world's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres. It covers 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area and with approximately 3.879 billion people, it hosts 60% of the world's current human population...

 and led both to the Sino-Soviet split
Sino-Soviet split
In political science, the term Sino–Soviet split denotes the worsening of political and ideologic relations between the People's Republic of China and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics during the Cold War...

 and to significant independence for North Korea.

Around that time, Abakumov was replaced by Semyon Ignatyev
Semyon Ignatyev
Semyon Denisovich Ignatiev, also spelled Ignatyev was a Soviet politician.Ignatiev, the son of a peasant,an engineer, joined the Communist Party in 1926. For most of his career, he was a discreet regional apparatchik, serving as Party Secretary in Buryat ASSR, Bashkir ASSR, Byelorussian SSR and...

, who further intensified the anti-Semitic campaign. On 13 January 1953, the biggest anti-semitic affair in the Soviet Union was initiated with an article in Pravda
Pravda
Pravda was a leading newspaper of the Soviet Union and an official organ of the Central Committee of the Communist Party between 1912 and 1991....

: the Doctors' plot
Doctors' plot
The Doctors' plot was the most dramatic anti-Jewish episode in the Soviet Union during Joseph Stalin's regime, involving the "unmasking" of a group of prominent Moscow doctors, predominantly Jews, as conspiratorial assassins of Soviet leaders...

. A number of the country's prominent Jewish doctors were accused of poisoning top Soviet leaders and arrested. Concurrently, a hysterical anti-semitic propaganda campaign, euphemistically called the struggle against rootless cosmopolitan
Rootless cosmopolitan
Rootless cosmopolitan was a Soviet euphemism widely used during Joseph Stalin's anti-Semitic campaign of 1948–1953, which culminated in the "exposure" of the alleged Doctors' plot...

s, occurred in the Soviet press. Initially, 37 men were arrested, but the number quickly grew into hundreds. Scores of Soviet Jews were dismissed from their jobs, arrested, sent to a gulag or executed. It is alleged that at this time on Stalin's orders the MGB started to prepare to deport all Soviet Jews to Russian Far East
Russian Far East
Russian Far East is a term that refers to the Russian part of the Far East, i.e., extreme east parts of Russia, between Lake Baikal in Eastern Siberia and the Pacific Ocean...

 or even massacre them. The issue is quite disputed (see discussion in Doctors' plot article). Some historians claim that no such deportation was planned, or that at least not nearly as much progress was made with the preparations for it as is claimed by the proponents of this theory.

Days after Stalin's death on 5 March, Beria freed all the arrested doctors, announced that the entire matter was fabricated, and arrested the MGB functionaries directly involved. For a time, the antisemitic campaign in the mass media was brought to end, and no further persecution of Jews occurred.

Early in the 1950s, Stalin's growing mistrust of Beria had already manifested in the Mingrelian Affair
Mingrelian Affair
The Mingrelian Affair, or Mingrelian Case was a series of criminal cases fabricated in 1951 and 1952 in order to accuse several members of the Georgian SSR Communist Party of Mingrelian extraction of secession and collaboration with the Western powers....

 (Beria was of Mingrelian
Mingrelians
The Mingrelians are a subethnic group of Georgians that mostly live in Samegrelo region of Georgia. They also live in considerable numbers in Abkhazia and Tbilisi...

 subethnicity), in which many of Beria's protégés in Georgia were purged, diminishing Beria's power. As Stalin accumulated evidence of Beria's sexual indiscretions, he appeared to be preparing to dispose of him, as he had done with Beria's predecessors, Nikolai Yezhov
Nikolai Yezhov
Nikolai Ivanovich Yezhov or Ezhov was a senior figure in the NKVD under Joseph Stalin during the period of the Great Purge. His reign is sometimes known as the "Yezhovshchina" , "the Yezhov era", a term that began to be used during the de-Stalinization campaign of the 1950s...

, and Genrikh Yagoda
Genrikh Yagoda
Genrikh Grigoryevich Yagoda , born Enokh Gershevich Ieguda , was a Soviet state security official who served as director of the NKVD, the Soviet Union's Stalin-era security and intelligence agency, from 1934 to 1936...

.

Role in Stalin's death


After Stalin's stroke, Beria claimed to have poisoned Stalin, aborting a final purge of Old Bolsheviks Anastas Mikoyan
Anastas Mikoyan
Anastas Ivanovich Mikoyan was an Armenian Old Bolshevik and Soviet statesman during the rules of Vladimir Lenin, Joseph Stalin, Nikita Khrushchev, and Leonid Brezhnev....

 and Vyacheslav Molotov
Vyacheslav Molotov
Vyacheslav Mikhailovich Molotov was a Soviet politician and diplomat, an Old Bolshevik and a leading figure in the Soviet government from the 1920s, when he rose to power as a protégé of Joseph Stalin, to 1957, when he was dismissed from the Presidium of the Central Committee by Nikita Khrushchev...

 for which Stalin had been laying the groundwork in the year prior to his death. He announced triumphantly to the Politburo that he had "saved [us] all" (according to Molotov
Vyacheslav Molotov
Vyacheslav Mikhailovich Molotov was a Soviet politician and diplomat, an Old Bolshevik and a leading figure in the Soviet government from the 1920s, when he rose to power as a protégé of Joseph Stalin, to 1957, when he was dismissed from the Presidium of the Central Committee by Nikita Khrushchev...

's memoirs). Evidence of the murder of Stalin by Beria associates was presented by Edvard Radzinsky
Edvard Radzinsky
Edvard Stanislavovich Radzinsky is a Russian playwright, writer, TV personality, and film screenwriter. He is also known as an author of several books on history which were characterized as "folk history" by journalists and academic historians.-Biography:Edvard Stanislavovich Radzinsky was born...

 in his biography Stalin. It has been suggested that warfarin
Warfarin
Warfarin is an anticoagulant. It is most likely to be the drug popularly referred to as a "blood thinner," yet this is a misnomer, since it does not affect the thickness or viscosity of blood...

 was used; it would have produced the symptoms reported. Sebag-Montefiore does not dispute the possibility of an assassination attempt masterminded by Beria, admitting that he had "every reason to hope the hated Stalin would die", but also notes that following the stroke, "Beria was never alone with Stalin – he took care that Malenkov was with him".

Stalin's aide Vasili Lozgachev reported that Beria and Malenkov were the first members of the Politburo to investigate Stalin's condition after his stroke, coming to his dacha at Kuntsevo at 3am on March 2 after being called by Khrushchev and Bulganin (who evidently did not want to risk Stalin's wrath by checking themselves). While Lozgachev tried ineffectively to explain to Beria that the then-unconscious Stalin (still in his soiled clothing) was "sick and needed medical attention", Beria angrily dismissed his claims as panic-mongering and quickly left, ordering him, "Don't bother us, don't cause a panic and don't disturb Comrade Stalin!" This decision to defer calling a doctor for a full 12 hours after Stalin was rendered paralyzed, incontinent and unable to speak is noted as "extraordinary" by Sebag-Montefiore, but also in keeping with the standard Stalinist policy of deferring all decision-making (no matter how necessary or obvious) without official orders from higher authority. Beria's decision to avoid immediately calling a doctor was silently supported (or at least not opposed) by the rest of the Politburo, which was both initially rudderless without Stalin's iron-fisted micromanagement and paralyzed by a legitimate fear he would suddenly recover and wreak violent reprisal on anyone who had dared to act without his orders. Stalin's malignant suspicion of doctors in the wake of the Doctors' Plot was well known; at the time of his stroke, his private physician was already being tortured in the basement of the Lubyanka for suggesting the leader required more bed rest.

After Stalin's death from pulmonary edema
Pulmonary edema
Pulmonary edema , or oedema , is fluid accumulation in the air spaces and parenchyma of the lungs. It leads to impaired gas exchange and may cause respiratory failure...

 brought on by the stroke, Beria's ambitions sprang into full force; in the uneasy silence following the cessation of Stalin's last agonies, Beria was the first to dart forward to kiss his lifeless form (a move likened by Sebag-Montefiore to "wrenching a dead King's ring off his finger"). While the rest of Stalin's inner circle (even Molotov, saved from certain liquidation) stood sobbing unashamedly over the body, Beria reportedly appeared "radiant", "regenerated", and "glistening with ill-concealed relish." Lingering briefly, he left the room, breaking the somber atmosphere by shouting loudly for his driver, his voice echoing with what Svetlana Alliluyeva
Svetlana Alliluyeva
Svetlana Iosifovna Alliluyeva , later known as Lana Peters, was the youngest child and only daughter of Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin and Nadezhda Alliluyeva, Stalin's second wife...

 (who was also in attendance) called "the ring of triumph unconcealed." Svetlana noticed how the Politburo seemed openly frightened of Beria and unnerved by his bold display of ambition; "He's off to take power," Mikoyan recalled muttering to Khrushchev, prompting a "frantic" dash for their own limousines to intercept him at the Kremlin.

Recent clinical and forensic evidence published in Surgical Neurology International by Dr Miguel A. Faria, a retired Clinical Professor of Neurosurgery, strongly suggest that Stalin was indeed poisoned with warfarin, a blood thinner (anti-coagulant), that caused his cerebral hemorrhage (stroke). This is supported by autopsy findings revealed in the same report. Beria and Khruhschev were implicated.

After Stalin


After Stalin's death, Beria was appointed First Deputy Premier and reappointed head of the MVD, which he merged with the MGB. His close ally Malenkov was the new Prime Minister
Premier of the Soviet Union
The office of Premier of the Soviet Union was synonymous with head of government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics . Twelve individuals have been premier...

 and initially the most powerful man in the post-Stalin leadership. Beria was second most powerful, and given Malenkov's personal weakness, was poised to become the power behind the throne and ultimately leader himself. Khrushchev became Party Secretary.

Given his record, it is not surprising that the other Party leaders were suspicious of Beria's motives. Khrushchev opposed the alliance between Beria and Malenkov, but he was initially unable to challenge them. His opportunity came in June 1953 when a spontaneous uprising
Uprising of 1953 in East Germany
The Uprising of 1953 in East Germany started with a strike by East Berlin construction workers on June 16. It turned into a widespread anti-Stalinist uprising against the German Democratic Republic government the next day....

 against the East German Communist regime broke out in East Berlin
East Berlin
East Berlin was the name given to the eastern part of Berlin between 1949 and 1990. It consisted of the Soviet sector of Berlin that was established in 1945. The American, British and French sectors became West Berlin, a part strongly associated with West Germany but a free city...

.

Based on Beria's own statements, other leaders suspected that in the wake of the uprising, he might be willing to trade the reunification of Germany and the end of the Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

 for massive aid from the United States, as had been received in World War II. The cost of the war still weighed heavily on the Soviet economy. Beria craved the vast financial resources that another (more sustained) relationship with the US could provide. He had already argued for "de-Bolshevization" of Soviet foreign policy (though he still favored traditional terror methods as necessary to control domestic power). The East German uprising convinced Molotov
Vyacheslav Molotov
Vyacheslav Mikhailovich Molotov was a Soviet politician and diplomat, an Old Bolshevik and a leading figure in the Soviet government from the 1920s, when he rose to power as a protégé of Joseph Stalin, to 1957, when he was dismissed from the Presidium of the Central Committee by Nikita Khrushchev...

, Malenkov and Nikolai Bulganin
Nikolai Bulganin
Nikolai Alexandrovich Bulganin was a prominent Soviet politician, who served as Minister of Defense and Premier of the Soviet Union . The Bulganin beard is named after him.-Early career:...

 that Beria's policies were dangerous and destabilizing to Soviet power. Within days of the events in Germany, Khrushchev persuaded the other leaders to support a Party coup against Beria; Beria's principal ally Malenkov abandoned him.

Downfall


On 26 June 1953, Beria was arrested and held in an undisclosed location near Moscow. Accounts of Beria's fall vary considerably. By the most likely account, Khrushchev prepared an elaborate ambush, convening a meeting of the Presidium on 26 June, where he suddenly launched a scathing attack on Beria, accusing him of being a traitor and spy in the pay of British intelligence. Beria was taken completely by surprise. He asked, "What's going on, Nikita Sergeyevich? Why are you picking fleas in my trousers?" Molotov and others quickly spoke against Beria one after the other, followed by a motion by Khrushchev for his instant dismissal. When Beria finally realized what was happening and plaintively appealed to Malenkov to speak for him, his old friend and crony silently hung his head and refused to meet his gaze. Malenkov pressed a button on his desk as the pre-arranged signal to Marshal Georgy Zhukov
Georgy Zhukov
Marshal of the Soviet Union Georgy Konstantinovich Zhukov , was a Russian career officer in the Red Army who, in the course of World War II, played a pivotal role in leading the Red Army through much of Eastern Europe to liberate the Soviet Union and other nations from the Axis Powers' occupation...

 and a group of armed officers in a nearby room. They burst in and arrested Beria.

Beria was taken first to the Moscow guardhouse
Military prison
A military prison is a prison operated by the military. Military prisons are used variously to house prisoners of war, enemy combatants, those whose freedom is deemed a national security risk by the military or national authorities, and members of the military found guilty of a serious crime...

 (Hauptwachte) and then to the bunker
Bunker
A military bunker is a hardened shelter, often buried partly or fully underground, designed to protect the inhabitants from falling bombs or other attacks...

 of the headquarters of Moscow Military District
Moscow Military District
The Moscow Military District was a military district of the Soviet Armed Forces and the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation. In 2010 it was merged with the Leningrad Military District, the Northern Fleet and the Baltic Fleet to form the new Western Military District.-History:In the beginning of...

. Defence Minister Nikolai Bulganin ordered the Kantemirovskaya Tank Division
4th Guards Kantemirovskaya Tank Division
The 4th Guards "Kantemirovskaya" Tank Division , more usually known as the Kantemirovskaya Division or Kantemir Division, is an elite armoured division of the Russian Ground Forces...

 and Tamanskaya Motor Rifle Division
2nd Guards Tamanskaya Motor Rifle Division
The 2nd Guards Motor Rifle 'Tamanskaya' Order of October Revolution, Red Banner,, Order of Suvorov Division named after M.I. Kalinin, also known as the Tamanskaya Division, Taman Division and Taman Guards The 2nd Guards Motor Rifle 'Tamanskaya' Order of October Revolution, Red Banner,, Order of...

 to move into Moscow to prevent security forces loyal to Beria from rescuing him. Many of Beria's subordinates, proteges and associates were also arrested, among them Merkulov
Vsevolod Nikolayevich Merkulov
Vsevolod Nikolayevich Merkulov , was the head of NKGB from February to July 1941, and again from April 1943 to March 1946. He was a member of the so-called "Georgian mafia" of Lavrenti Beria, head of the NKVD.In 1913, Merkulov graduated from the Tiflis Gymnasium with the gold medal and became a...

, Bogdan Kobulov
Bogdan Kobulov
The surname Kobulov may refer to either of the two USSR statesmen and state security officers who are occasionally confused with one another and who were brothers:-Bogdan Kobulov:...

, Sergey Golgidze
Sergo Goglidze
Sergo Goglidze was a Georgian Soviet NKVD official.- Biography :Born in Korta, a village near Kutaisi, Serghei Arsenievici Goglidze joined the Cheka in 1921. He served with GPU-NKVD border troops, rising through the ranks...

, Vladimir Dekanozov
Vladimir Dekanozov
Vladimir Georgievich Dekanozov ) was a Soviet senior state security operative and diplomat.-Before Second World War:...

, Pavel Meshik, and Lev Vlodzimirskiy. Pravda
Pravda
Pravda was a leading newspaper of the Soviet Union and an official organ of the Central Committee of the Communist Party between 1912 and 1991....

did not announce Beria's arrest until 10 July, crediting it to Malenkov and referring to Beria's "criminal activities against the Party and the State." In December, the paper announced that Beria and the six accomplices mentioned, "in the pay of foreign intelligence agencies," had been "conspiring for many years to seize power in the Soviet Union and restore capitalism."

Beria and the others were tried by a special session ("Spetsialnoye Sudebnoye Prisutstvie") of the Supreme Court of the Soviet Union with no defense counsel and no right of appeal, on 23 December 1953. Marshal Ivan Konev
Ivan Konev
Ivan Stepanovich Konev , was a Soviet military commander, who led Red Army forces on the Eastern Front during World War II, retook much of Eastern Europe from occupation by the Axis Powers, and helped in the capture of Germany's capital, Berlin....

 was the chairman of the court.

Beria was found guilty of:
  1. Treason
    Treason
    In law, treason is the crime that covers some of the more extreme acts against one's sovereign or nation. Historically, treason also covered the murder of specific social superiors, such as the murder of a husband by his wife. Treason against the king was known as high treason and treason against a...

    . It was alleged, without any proof, that "up to the moment of his arrest Beria maintained and developed his secret connections with foreign intelligence services". In particular, attempts to initiate peace talks with Hitler
    Adolf Hitler
    Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

     in 1941 through the ambassador of Bulgaria
    Bulgaria
    Bulgaria , officially the Republic of Bulgaria , is a parliamentary democracy within a unitary constitutional republic in Southeast Europe. The country borders Romania to the north, Serbia and Macedonia to the west, Greece and Turkey to the south, as well as the Black Sea to the east...

     were classified as treason; no one mentioned that Beria was acting on the orders of Stalin and Molotov. It was also alleged that Beria, who in 1942 helped organize the defense of the North Caucasus
    Battle of the Caucasus
    The Battle of Caucasus is a name given to a series of German and Soviet operations in the Caucasus area during the Soviet-German War.-1941 operations:...

    , tried to let the Germans occupy the Caucasus. There were allegations that "planning to seize power, Beria tried to obtain the support of imperialist states at the price of violation of territorial integrity of the Soviet Union and transfer of parts of USSR's territory to capitalist states." These allegations were due to Beria's suggestion to his assistants that to improve foreign relations, it was reasonable to transfer the Kaliningrad Oblast
    Kaliningrad Oblast
    Kaliningrad Oblast is a federal subject of Russia situated on the Baltic coast. It has a population of The oblast forms the westernmost part of the Russian Federation, but it has no land connection to the rest of Russia. Since its creation it has been an exclave of the Russian SFSR and then the...

     to Germany, part of Karelia
    Karelian question in Finnish politics
    The Karelian question or Karelian issue is a dispute of Finnish politics over whether or not to try to regain sovereignty over the Finnish Karelia and other territories ceded to the Soviet Union in the Winter War and the Continuation War...

     to Finland, the Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic to the Romania
    Communist Romania
    Communist Romania was the period in Romanian history when that country was a Soviet-aligned communist state in the Eastern Bloc, with the dominant role of Romanian Communist Party enshrined in its successive constitutions...

     and the Kuril Islands
    Kuril Islands
    The Kuril Islands , in Russia's Sakhalin Oblast region, form a volcanic archipelago that stretches approximately northeast from Hokkaidō, Japan, to Kamchatka, Russia, separating the Sea of Okhotsk from the North Pacific Ocean. There are 56 islands and many more minor rocks. It consists of Greater...

     to Japan
    Japan
    Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

    .
  2. Terrorism
    Terrorism
    Terrorism is the systematic use of terror, especially as a means of coercion. In the international community, however, terrorism has no universally agreed, legally binding, criminal law definition...

    . Beria's order to execute 25 political prisoners in October 1941 without trial
    Purge of the Red Army in 1941
    Between October 1940 and February 1942, the impending start of the German invasion in June 1941 notwithstanding, the Red Army, in particular the Soviet Air Force, as well as Soviet military-related industries were decapitated by repressions once again...

     was classified as an act of terrorism.
  3. Counterrevolutionary activity during the Russian Civil War
    Russian Civil War
    The Russian Civil War was a multi-party war that occurred within the former Russian Empire after the Russian provisional government collapsed to the Soviets, under the domination of the Bolshevik party. Soviet forces first assumed power in Petrograd The Russian Civil War (1917–1923) was a...

    . In 1919 Beria worked in the security service of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic
    Azerbaijan Democratic Republic
    The Azerbaijan Democratic Republic was the first successful attempt to establish a democratic and secular republic in the Muslim world . The ADR was founded on May 28, 1918 after the collapse of the Russian Empire that began with the Russian Revolution of 1917 by Azerbaijani National Council in...

    . Beria maintained that he was assigned to that work by the Hummet
    Muslim Social Democratic Party
    The Muslim Social Democratic Party, usually referred to as Hummet , was a political party in South Caucasus. In 1920, it merged with "Adalat" communist cell in Baku, forming the first Communist Party of Azerbaijan.- "Old" Hummet :...

     party which subsequently merged with the Adalat Party, the Ahrar Party, and the Baku
    Baku
    Baku , sometimes spelled as Baki or Bakou, is the capital and largest city of Azerbaijan, as well as the largest city on the Caspian Sea and of the Caucasus region. It is located on the southern shore of the Absheron Peninsula, which projects into the Caspian Sea. The city consists of two principal...

     Bolsheviks to establish the Azerbaijan Communist Party
    Azerbaijan Communist Party
    The Azerbaijan Communist Party was the ruling political party in the Azerbaijan SSR, making it effectively a branch of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union...

    .


Beria and all the other defendants were sentenced to death. When the death sentence was passed, according to Moskalenko's later account, Beria pleaded on his knees for mercy before collapsing to the floor and wailing and crying energetically, but to no avail: the other six defendants were executed by firing squad on 23 December 1953, the same day as the trial , while Beria was fatally shot through the forehead by General Batitsky
Pavel Batitsky
Pavel Fyodorovich Batitsky was a Soviet military leader awarded the highest honorary title of Hero of the Soviet Union in 1965 and appointed Marshal of the Soviet Union in 1968...

 after the latter stuffed a rag into Beria's mouth to silence his bawling. The body of Lavrentiy Pavlovich Beria was subsequently cremated and buried around Moscow's forest.

Sexual assault charges


At Beria's trial after his June 1953 arrest, a significant number of rape
Rape
Rape is a type of sexual assault usually involving sexual intercourse, which is initiated by one or more persons against another person without that person's consent. The act may be carried out by physical force, coercion, abuse of authority or with a person who is incapable of valid consent. The...

 and sexual assault allegations were brought to light.. The 2003 unsealing of the Soviet archives of his case revealed large amounts of evidence from "dozens" of victims of his sexual assaults. Stalin had been collecting material on Beria for years prior to his death. The new evidence on Beria, in the words of Stalin biographer Simon Sebag-Montefiore, "reveals a sexual predator who used his power to indulge himself in obsessive depravity."

During the war, Beria was commonly seen on warm nights slowly driving in his armored Packard limousine through the streets of Moscow. According to the testimony of his NKVD bodyguards, colonels Sarkisov and Nadaraia, Beria would point out young women to be detained and escorted to his mansion, where wine and a feast awaited them. After dining, Beria would take the women into his soundproofed office and rape them. Beria's bodyguards reported that their orders included handing each girl a flower bouquet as she left Beria's house, with the implication being that to accept his parting gift made her his consensual mistress
Mistress (lover)
A mistress is a long-term female lover and companion who is not married to her partner; the term is used especially when her partner is married. The relationship generally is stable and at least semi-permanent; however, the couple does not live together openly. Also the relationship is usually,...

; those who refused risked being arrested. In one incident reported by Colonel Sarkisov, a woman who had been brought to Beria refused his advances and ran out of his office; Sarkisov mistakenly handed her the flowers anyway, prompting the enraged Beria to declare "Now it's not a bouquet, it's a wreath! May it rot on your grave!" The woman was arrested by the NKVD the next day.

Many women reportedly submitted to Beria's advances in exchange for the promise of freeing their relatives from the Gulag. In one case, Beria picked up a well-known actress under the pretense of bringing her to perform for the Politburo; instead, he took her to his dacha, promised to free her father and grandmother from NKVD prison if she submitted, and then raped her, telling her "Scream or not, doesn't matter." Beria knew her relatives had already been executed months before. She was arrested shortly afterward and sentenced to solitary confinement
Solitary confinement
Solitary confinement is a special form of imprisonment in which a prisoner is isolated from any human contact, though often with the exception of members of prison staff. It is sometimes employed as a form of punishment beyond incarceration for a prisoner, and has been cited as an additional...

 in the Gulag, which she survived.

Beria's sexually predatory nature was well-known to the Politburo, and though Stalin took an indulgent viewpoint (considering Beria's wartime importance), he was fearful after learning that his daughter Svetlana was alone with Beria at his house. He said, "I don't trust Beria," and called her to tell her to leave immediately. When Beria complimented Alexander Poskrebyshev
Alexander Poskrebyshev
Alexander Nikolaevich Poskrebyshev was a Soviet Major-General. USSR political, state and communist party functionary. Member of Soviet Communist Party since march 1917...

's daughter on her beauty, Poskrebyshev quickly pulled her aside and instructed her, "Don't ever accept a lift from Beria." After taking an interest in Marshal Kliment Voroshilov
Kliment Voroshilov
Kliment Yefremovich Voroshilov , popularly known as Klim Voroshilov was a Soviet military officer, politician, and statesman...

's daughter-in-law during a party at their summer dacha, Beria shadowed their car closely all the way back to the Kremlin, terrifying Voroshilov's wife. Prior to and during the war, Beria directed his chief bodyguard, Colonel Sarkisov, to keep a running list of the names and phone numbers of his sexual conquests. Later realizing the security risk, Beria ordered Sarkisov to destroy the list, but the Colonel retained a secret handwritten copy. As Beria's fall from power began, Sarkisov sent the list to the new NKVD chief (and former wartime head of SMERSH
SMERSH
SMERSH was the counter-intelligence agency in the Red Army formed in late 1942 or even earlier, but officially founded on April 14, 1943. The name SMERSH was coined by Joseph Stalin...

), Viktor Abakumov
Viktor Abakumov
Viktor Semyonovich Abakumov , was a high level Soviet security organs official, from 1943 to 1946 the head of SMERSH in the USSR People's Commissariat of Defense, and from 1946 to 1951 Minister of State Security or MGB . Abakumov was a notoriously brutal official who was known to torture prisoners...

, who was already aggressively building a case against Beria. Seeking to undermine Beria, Stalin was thrilled by Sarkisov's detailed records, demanding, "Send me everything this asshole writes down!" Sarkisov reported that Beria's sexual appetite had led to him contracting syphilis
Syphilis
Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection caused by the spirochete bacterium Treponema pallidum subspecies pallidum. The primary route of transmission is through sexual contact; however, it may also be transmitted from mother to fetus during pregnancy or at birth, resulting in congenital syphilis...

 during the war, for which he was secretly treated without the knowledge of Stalin or the Politburo (a fact Beria later admitted during his interrogation). The Russian government did not acknowledge Sarkisov's handwritten list of Beria's victims until 17 January 2003, and the names will not be released for another 25 years.

The historian Amy Knight noted that Beria's sexual predation was partially independently corroborated by an American diplomat, Edward Ellis Smith, who served in the U.S. embassy in Moscow after the war: "Smith noted that Beria's escapades were common knowledge among embassy personnel because his house was on the same street as residence for Americans, and those who lived there saw girls brought to Beria's house late at night in a limousine."

The sexual abuse and rape charges against Beria were disputed by some of the people close to him, including his wife Nina and his son Sergo, and former Soviet foreign intelligence chief Pavel Sudoplatov
Pavel Sudoplatov
Lieutenant General Pavel Anatolyevich Sudoplatov was a member of the intelligence services of the Soviet Union who rose to the rank of lieutenant general...

, as politically motivated smears. In a 1990 interview, Beria's wife Nina said: "Lavrentiy was busy working day and night. When did he have time for love with this legion of women?"

In culture


Some details of Beria's appearance and biography were used by Tengiz Abuladze
Tengiz Abuladze
Tengiz Abuladze was a Georgian film director.Abuladze studied theatre direction at the Shota Rustaveli Theatre Institute, Tbilisi, Georgia, and filmmaking at the VGIK in Moscow. He graduated VGIK in 1952 and in 1953 he joined Gruziya-film as a director...

 to create a character of dictator Varlam Aravidze for his film Repentance.

Further reading


  • Antonov-Ovseenko, Anton, Beria, Moscow, 1999 (in Russian)
  • Avtorkhanov, Abdurahman, The Mystery of Stalin's Death, Novyi Mir, #5, 1991, pp. 194–233 (in Russian)
  • Beria, Sergo, Beria: My Father, London, 2001
  • Knight, Amy, Beria: Stalin's First Lieutenant, Princeton University Press
    Princeton University Press
    -Further reading:* "". Artforum International, 2005.-External links:* * * * *...

    , 1993. ISBN 0-691-03257-2
  • Khruschev, Nikita, Khruschev Remembers: Last Testament, Random House, 1977, ISBN 0-517-17547-9
  • Rhodes, Richard, Dark Sun: The Making of the Hydrogen Bomb, Simon and Schuster, 1996 ISBN 0-684-82414-0
  • Stove, R. J., The Unsleeping Eye: Secret Police and Their Victims, Encounter Books, San Francisco, 2003. ISBN 1-893554-66-X
  • Sudoplatov, Pavel, Special Tasks: The Memoirs of an Unwanted Witness – A Soviet Spymaster
    Special Tasks
    Special Tasks: The Memoirs of an Unwanted Witness—A Soviet Spymaster is the autobiography of Pavel Sudoplatov, who was a member of the intelligence services of the Soviet Union who rose to the rank of major general; when it was published in 1994, it caused a considerable uproar, for a number of...

    , Little Brown & Co, 1994, ISBN 0-316-77352-2
  • Sukhomlinov, Andrei, "Kto Vy, Lavrentiy Beria?", Moscow, 2003 (in Russian), ISBN 5-89935-060-1
  • Wittlin, Thaddeus. Commissar: The Life and Death of Lavrenty Pavlovich Beria, The Macmillan Co., New York, 1972.
  • Yakovlev, A.N., Naumov, V., and Sigachev, Y. (eds), Lavrenty Beria, 1953. Stenographic Report of July's Plenary Meeting of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and Other Documents, International Democracy Foundation, Moscow, 1999 (in Russian). ISBN 5-89511-006-1
  • Geronti Kikodze "Writings of Contemporary". ქიქოძე, გერონტი, თანამედროვის ჩანაწერები. – [1-ლი გამოც.]. – თბ. : არეტე, 2003 Not available in English.

External links