Friday, April 21, 2000

Stalin's Assassination

1) Georges Bortoli, The Death of Stalin,
tr. Raymond Rosenthal, Praegar Publishers, New York 1975.

{p. 175} On March 9, Soviet newsreel cameramen filmed the funeral in
all of its details. The results of their labors would never be seen. All
of the cameramen's work was consigned to the film arehives, where it remains to this day, unavai]able for foreign or domestic consumption. For, before the film of the funeral was ready, the wind had changed and it was already time to forget Stalin.

F.L., a literary critic, received an urgent commission from a Moscow
magazine to write an essay on Stalin's place in Soviet literature. The
entire April issue of the magazine would be devoted to the deceased leader.
About two weeks after the assignment, the cditor-inchief telephoned: "No
point in continuing. You will be paid for the essay, of course. But the
table of contents for April has been changed."

Pravda remained Stalinist-tinged for about thirteen days: From the
mourning issue of March 10, which was devoted entirely to the funeral ceremonies, to March 22 inclusive. During this time, Stalin continued to be quoted in many articles. Poems inspired by him still appeared, and his name was still accompanied by glowing superlatives. One also found the themes that had filled the paper before his death: "doctor-assassins" "hidden enemies of our people," "henchmen of the Zionist Jews," as well as the usual appeals for spying on

{p. 176} one's neighbors and the usual denunciations of "slackness
and naivete."

With spring, everything changed. The great man's name appeared only
two or three times in each issue of the newspaper; sometimes it was completely

On April 7, the Constitution of the U.S.S.R. ceased to be "Stalinist
Constitution," and became, quite simply, the "Soviet Constitution."
On the same day, Yekaterina Furtseva, quoting Stalin's last work, already
failed to qualify it as "inspired."

On and after March 23, the word "vigilance" seemed to have
been forgotten as all the commentators began discussing the "prosperity
of the people." The plots of land given to the workers to grow potatoes
became a subject of great concern to the organ of the Central Committee.

At the same time, the articles against Jews ceased. The last
big anti-Semitic feature article- one of the most violent published- appeared
in the March 20 issue of Krokodil. Vasily Ardamatsky, the author
of this ill-timed article, would have the unpleasant experience of being
shunned by his colleagues and of hearing himself nicknamed Vasya Timashuk,
after the woman doctor who had denounced and caused the arrest of the "men
in white."

Tears had not yet been dried, but the process of de-Stalinization got
under way enthusiastically, and, in the leading circles, one could almost
hear an enormous but discreet sigh of relief.

For the old guard, it was a matter of preserving the advantages of succession while elirninating its dangers - of maintaining power but diminishing tensions. After thirty-five years of existence, the Party could flatter itself that it bore, in the eyes of Soviet citizens, the mysterious seal of legitimacy. But now the leaders were going to disassociate the Party from Stalin, even though the habit of identifying it with him had become deeply rooted.°

° A convincing example of this can be found by comparing two
writings of Mikhail Sholokhov published in Pravda at an interval of less
than five months. The first was the great funeral chant which appeared
on March 8, after Stalin's burial:

Farewell, father! Farewell, dear father, whom we shall love until our last
breath. You will always be with us and with those who are born after us.
We hear your voice in the rhythmic rumble of the turbines of the gigantic
hydro-electric power plants, and in the crash of the waves of the seas
created by your will, and in the cadenced step of the invincible Soviet
infantry and in the soft soughing of foliage on the well-timbered plains
which stretch to infinity.

The second text, which appeared on July 30, was entitled: "Live
eternally our dear Party." In this article, Sholokhov did not mention
Stalin's name even once.

{p. 177} The transition would be difficult. On March 14, Malenkov, who
appeared to be the chief heir on March 6, abandoned part of his heritage.
Keeping only the presidency of the government, he left the secretariat,
and the small wave of adulation which he had enjoyed during those eight
days vanished. A month later, a new formula rose on the political horizon:
"Collective leadership, supreme principle of the leadership of our

Officially, the collectivity had three heads. Malenkov was actually
surrounded by Beria and Molotov, who, besides their titles of first
vice-president of the Council, had received, respectively, portfolios as
the heads of the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Behind them were other illustrious figures: Bulganin, Kaganovich, and
Mikoyan. The West, which was not very sensitive to obscure maneuvers
inside the Party, continued to pay little attention to Nikita Khrushchev.
Yet it was he who became First Secretary of the Central Committee when
Malenkov was "relieved" of his post. Quietly, without a fuss,
he began to gather into his hands the real reins of power.

Malenkov, meanwhile, was doing what he could to occupy the front
of the stage, to be, if not the boss, at least a bossling. He decided to
display his managerial skills. He decided to raise the Soviet standard
of living.

The reduction in prices which he had decreed on April 1 was far
greater than the reductions announced, ritually, each year under Stalin.
To cope with this mass of liberated money, the government feverishly imported
consumer goods; it even went so far as to buy 30,000 tons of butter
in Denmark, Holland, Australia, and New Zealand. Yet it goes without saying
that most of the imports came from the satellite countries, where
the U.S.S.R. could have certain quantities of products set aside in advance
and could buy at super-preferential prices. The workers of East Berlin,
whose production "norms" were greatly increased, would make it
clear, with paving stones and Molotov cocktails, that they were not quite
ready to foot the bill for raising Soviet citizens' standard of living.

{p. 186} Professors M. G. Kogall and Etinger figured among the people
who had been mistakenly arrested, but they could not be found among those
who had been freed.

"Well," said the lieutenant. "Those two went into prison
but they did not come out."

With their congenital feeling for the implied unstated, Soviet readers
understood what the communique had failed to explain: The "inadmissible
methods of investigation" utilized "by the workers in the investigative
service" - those horrible workers - had transformed two of the accused
into corpses.

Right below the communique, Pravda had run a big article on fruit
trees. Looking carefully, a little lower down, attentive readers discovered
a very short paragraph announcing that the Supreme Soviet had annulled
the decree which conferred the Order of Lenin on Dr. Lidia Timashuk, the
woman who had denounced the "assassins in white coats."

The Israeli delegation to the United Nations immediately made it
known that it would bring the problem of anti-Semitism in the U.S.S.R.
before the international organization. The entire Soviet press had begun
to condemn "all propaganda for racial or national discrimination."
It rehabilitated, posthumously but with special and warm emphasis,
the actor Solomon Mikhoels, "this honest citizen, this great artist
of the people of the U.S.S.R." The same person who, just two months
before, had been labeled a paid agent of American Zionists.

In the world at large, those who for the last twenty years had denounced
the Moscow trials as faked, the confessions extorted, now triumphed. But
Communist militants, as a group, did not even flinch. For them, crimes
unmasked in the inner circles of the Soviet police were mere accidents.
"We belong to an army - and to an encircled army," said an old
member of the French Communist Party. "When some lance corporal gets
the clap, an entire army should not feel dishonored."

Yet Beria, with his blunt communique, had put a crack - still almost
invisible - in the principle of infallibility.

Stripped of the Order of Lenin but still on the job, Dr. Timashuk pursued
an inglorious career as X-ray technician at the Kremlin Hospital, where
she met again the colleagues she had had arrested - at least those who
had survived. But not everyone was treated with the same gentleness as
she. Ryumin, the former Deputy Minister of State

{p. 187} Security, who had personally directed the investigation
of the "men in white," was arrested together with a number of
his colleagues. This little man with the look of a pink cherub was
actually a frightful torturer. Moreover, it was convenient to make him
rather than the former Minister Ignatyev shoulder the heaviest responsibility
for the affair. Ignatyev was loyal to Khrushchev, and Khrushchev defended
him tooth and nail. So, for the moment, he was only criticized for "political
blindness and credulity." He did not follow his ex-subordinate to
jail, but he lost his new and prestigious position of Secretary of the
Central Committee, to which Khrushchev had just assigned him.

Behind the pompous words, the new scandal fouled up the settlement of
accounts. For three months, Ignatyev had given Beria's men in the heart
of the security organization some bad moments. Now it was his turn. Furthermore,
what most struck the political class about the news of the freeing of
the doctors was the signature: "Communique of the Ministry of the
Interior." In other words, Beria. This sounded like a challenge
to the completely new practices of the collective leadership. By mounting
all alone this operation from which he gained a certain popularity, the
Georgian showed that he could outmaneuver his colleagues. Would he try
to get rid of them tomorrow?

To denounce the torturers of yesterday, one had to borrow phrases from
their dreadful vocabulary: "Spies and diversionists, bearers of bourgeois
ideology, degenerates.... Against these true enemies, open and recognized,
of the people, these enemies of the Sovict State it is always necessary
to keep our powder dry." Again, the style of the purges. Who would
be the "enemies of the people" tomorrow?

(2) The Death of Stalin: An Investigation
, pub. Allen Wingate, London 1958.

{p. vii} THE FOLLOWING SEQUENCE OF EVENTS is the subject of our investigation:-

January 13th 1953 The 'Doctors' Plot' Exposed - nine Kremlin physicians

March 4th " Moscow radio announces Stalin's illness.

March 5th " The death of Stalin.

March 6th " Beria's tanks surround Moscow.

March 9th " Stalin's funeral.

March 20th " Malenkov released from his duties as Secretary General
of the Communist Party.

April 3rd " Kremlin doctors freed.

July 10th " Beria dismissed from the Communist Party.

September 12th " Krushchev elected First Secretary of the Communist

December 23rd " Beria tried, found guilty and shot.

February 8th 1955 Malenkov released from his duties as Chairman of the
Supreme Soviet.

February 24th 1956 Krushchev's 'Secret' Speech to the 20th Congress of
the Communist Party.

February 29th " Krushchev appointed Chairman of the newly created
Bureau of the Central Committee of the Soviet Communist Party for the affairs
of the Russian Federal Republic.

June 2nd 1957 Malenkov, Molotov and Kaganovich disgraced.

August 16th 1958 Bulganin exiled from Moscow.

{p. viii} It is a paradox that while the details of his final illness
were broadcast to the whole world, the atmosphere of mystery shrouding
the circumstances of the death of Stalin has never been dispersed.

A number of people, satisfied with the information given, accept the
fact that Stalin died of cerebral haemorrhage. Many, suspecting that his
end was altogether too opportune, speak of it as a miracle that saved Russia
from a new reign of terror. Some are of the opinion that the 'course of
nature was assisted'. Others, dismnissing his illness as fictitious, believe
that Stalin was murdered.

The purpose of our investigation is to discover from the evidence available
whether or not Stalin died a natural death.

{p. 1} Chapter I THE SETTING

ON JANUARY 13TH, 1953, the TASS News Agency reported the 'arrest
of a terrorist group of physicians, uncovered by the State Security Organs
of the USSR'.

Why physicians? And Kremlin physicians at that? Was it possible that
Stalin, once again, suspected that he was being poisoned? And was he? Let
us investigate these questions.

Amongst those arrested were Doctor G. 1. Mayorov, and the Profcssors
M. S. Vovsi, V. N. Vinogradov, M. B. Kogan, B. B. Kogan, P. 1. Yegorov,
Y. G. Etinger, A. 1. Feldman and A. M. Grinstein.

According to the report 'most of the members of this terrorist
group were in the pay of the American intelligence service, and received
their instructions through the medium of JOINT, the international Jewish
bourgeois nationalist organization set up by the American intelligence
service, allegedly for rendering material aid to Jews in other countries,
but which actually conducts espionage, terroristic, and other subversive
activities in a number of countries including the Soviet Union.

'Other members', said the statement, 'have proved to be British intelligence
agents of long-standing. All the criminals have confessed to causing the
deaths of Zhdanov by false diagnosis and injurious treatment, and investigation
has shown that they shortened the life of Shcherbakov, and had tried to
disable Marshals Vassilevsky, Govorov and Koniev, General Shetemenko, Admiral
Levenchko and others.

'Their aim was first of all to undermine the health of Soviet leading
military cadres, to disable them, and so weaken the defence of the country.
They have failed in this purpose but

{p. 2} have succeeded in murdering A. A. Zhdanov and A. S. Scherbakov

Zhdanov was regarded as one of the most powerful members of the Politburo
after Stalin. Up to the time of his death in 1948, due to angina pectoris
and cardiac asthma,* it was widely considered that he would succced
Stalin as President of the Council of Ministers.

Shcherbakov, who died in 1945 of 'paralysis of the heart', was Director
of the political administration of the Soviet Army.

All those named to be 'disabled' were elderly and very senior officers
with the exception of one, General Shetemenko, a comparatively young man,
who in 1948 had succeeded Marshal Vassilevski as Chief o£ Staff to
the Soviet Army.

On the same day, Pravda wrote: 'The fact that this group of cheap
monsters, recruited amongst scientists, was able to go about unpunished
shows that some of our Soviet authorities and lcaders have forgotten about
vigilance'. This article referred to the 'shortcomings' of the State Security

Five days later, on January 18th, Pravda wrote in an editorial
of: 'the fight for the fulfilment of the tasks laid down in Stalin's work
of genius, Economic Problems of the USSR', and called for 'stricter
discipline, high political vigilance, and an irreconcilable attitude towards
shortcomings'. The article quoted the new Party Statutes obliging 'all
members to keep Party and State Secrets'. 'A carefree, smug, and complacent
mood has penetrated the Party ranks', Pravda stated. 'Vigilance
has been blunted and such unpleasant facts as capital encirclement and
plots have begun to be forgotten. Party members are losing sight of the
fact that the imperialists, especially the Americans, in developing preparations
for the new war, attempt to send into our country and other countries of
the sociallst camp twice and three times more agents, spies and diversionists,
than into the rear of any bourgeois country'.

* Author's italics. See Menzhinsky trial: Chapter III.

{p. 3} On the last day of January Pravda published a list
of officials said to have been guilty of criminal carelessness or deliberate
espionage. An editorial on the same day stated that important documents
were being badly guarded in the Economic Bank, the Ministry of Health,
and the State Supply System, and that the imperialist countries were spending
huge sums of money in their efforts to gather secret information. It announced
that 'a group of rootless cosmopolitans and Jewish-bourgeois nationalists
have been unmasked in Lithuania'.

On February 6th, Pravda announccd the arrest of four Russians
for spying for foreign powers.

Three days later, the main offices of the Soviet Legation at Tel
Aviv were wrecked by a bomb thrown through a window, and the Minister's
wife and two members of the legation staff were injured. As a result
of this outrage, a note was sent from Moscow severing diplomatic relations
with Israel. The note declared that the bomb explosion had been engineered
with the obvious connivance of the Israeli police, and that, in spite of
the Israeli Government's condemnation of the outrage, 'the participation
of Israeli Government members in the systematic fannling of hatred and
enmity towards the Soviet Union and in incitement to hostile actions against
the Soviet Union, is universally known and indisputable'.

An Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman said that the decision to break
off diplomatic relations was the culminatioll of a campaign of 'open animosity
and poisonous slander by the USSR against Israel, Zionist organisations,
and the Jews which had been carried on by the Soviet bloc for a long time,
and had increased during the past two months, the real aim of which is
to isolate and frighten the Jews in Soviet Russia, whose fate arouses dcep

On February 13th, the day following the incident at Tel Aviv, Moscow
Radio reported the death 'after a long and serious illness' of Lev Zaharovich
Mekhlis, one of the

{p. 4} two Jewish members of the Communist Central Committee.

On February 21st, the invitations issued for the Soviet Army Day reception
revealed that Marshal Sokolovsky had replaced General Shetemenko as Chief
of Staff to the Army. The latter was one of those whom the 'doctor-plotters'
had allegedly 'tried to disable'.

In the early hours of March 4th, Moscow Radio broadcast the news
that Stalin had been elected to the Moscow City Soviet. That morning,
the usual light music programme was replaced by a women's choir and a Beethoven
concert. Pravda and the other newspapers were four hours late.

At 8 a.m. (Moscow time) the following announcement was made over
the radio:- 'The Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet
Union and the Council of Ministers of the Soviet Union notify the misfortune
which has overtaken our Party and our people - the serious illness of
Comrade J. V. Stalin.

'In the night of March 1st-2nd, while in his Moscow apartment, Comrade
Stalin suffered a cerebral haemorrhage affecting vital areas of the brain.
Comrade Stalin lost consciousness and paralysis of the right arm and leg
set in. Loss of speech followed. There appeared to be serious disturbances
in the functioning of the heart and breathing.

'The best medical brains have been summoned for Comrade Stalin's treatment:
Professor-Therapeutist P. E. Lukomsky, permanent member of the Academy
of Medical Science of the USSR; Professor-Neuropathist N. V. Konovalov;
Professor-Therapeutist A. L. Miasnikov; Professor-Therapeutist E. M. Tareyov;
Professor-Neuropathist I. N. Filimov; Professor-Neuropathist R. A. Tkachev;
Professor-Neuropathist I. S Glazuhov; Reader-Neuropathist V. I. Ivanov-Neznamov.

'Comrade Stalin's treatment is being carried out under the guidance
of the Minister of Health, Dr. A. F. Tretyakov,

{p. 5} together with L. I. Kuperin, Chief of the Medical Health Board
of the Kremlin.

'The treatment is conducted under the constant supervision of the Central
Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet and the Soviet Government.

'In view of the serious condition of Comrade Stalin's health, the Council
of Ministers of the Union of the SSR have recognized the necessity of publishing
medical bulletins on the condition of Joseph Vissarionovitch Stalin's health
as from today.

'The Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and
the Council of Ministers of the Union of the SSR as well as our whole Party
and the whole Soviet people fully recognize that the serious illness
of Comrade Stalin will lead to his more or less prolonged absence from
the activities connected with his leadership.

'The Central Committee and the Council of Ministers leading the country
take with all seriousness into consideration all the circumstances connected
with the temporary withdrawal of Comrade Stalin from the leadership of
the Government and Party activity.

'The Central Committce and the Council of Ministers express their conviction
that our Party and the whole Soviet people will in these difficult days
display the greatest unity, solidarity, fortitude of spirit and vigilance;
that they will redouble their energy for the building of Communism in our
country and rally round the Central Committee of the Communist Party and
the Government of the Soviet Union even more closely than hitherto.'

There followed this announcement, the first medical bulletin, which
was rcpeatedly broadcast throughout the day:-

'In the night of March lst-2nd, 1953,Joseph Vissarionovitch Stalin suffered
from a sudden cerebral haemorrhage, affecting vital areas of the brain,
as a result of which there set in paralysis ...

{p. 52} No one really knows how many died or disappeared without
trace as the result of the Moscow trials. But by July 30th, 1938 it was
estimated that some seven million prisoners were held in the concentration
camps alone. Many more were exiled and sentenced to life imprisonment.
Such figures would appear incredible until one recalls the mass deportations
from Leningrad, Georgia and the Ukraine where, first Yezhov, and later,
Beria 'mowed in large armfuls of political prisoners' under Stalin's orders.

In the last year of the trials, 1938, there died or disappeared almost
all the eighty members of the Council of War constituted four years before
to assist the Commissar of Defence. Marshals and Generals, Admirals and
Vice-Admirals were sentenced to death, as were thousands of other officers
of all ranks. In that single year, there were more than 30,000 victims
of the purge in the 'Red' Army and Navy. In his 'Secret' speech Krushchev
stated that '5,000 of Russia's best officers were murdered during the blood-baths
that followed the secret trial for treason of Marshal Tukhachevsky.' There
perished, too, Assistant Commissars of Foreign Affairs, as well as ambassadors,
plenipotentiaries, and consul-generals. Almost the entire staffs of Pravda
and Izvestia disappeared, together with hundreds of authors,
critics, directors of theatres and actors and actresses, as step by step
Stalin methodically passed from the Party to the Armed Forces, from the
diplomatic corps to the secret police, from industry to agriculture and
commerce, and from commerce to the arts.

Now, in 1953, history repeated itself. Every day the newspapers throughout
the country announced new arrests, fresh exposures of groups of diversionists,
saboteurs and capitalist spies. In January, most of the victims were
Jews, businessmen, writers, lawyers and doctors. Once again, the Ukraine,
Krushchev's country, was the centre of an outbreak of anti-Semitism. Then,
the Ukrainian Party organization was

{p. 53} attacked for 'corruption and subversion'. Other provincial Party
organizations were brought into disrepute, and in every case their leaders
came under suspicion.

Pogrom is a Russian word meaning the organized massacre of a body or
class of pcople. With the arrest of the doctors - six of whom were Jewish
- the dismissals, sudden deaths by heart failure, suicides, and disappearances
of Jews all over Russia, it was easy to see which way the seering wind
of this new pogrom was sweeping. Three years later, shortly after
he had made his 'secret' speech, Krushchev told a smaller Party meeting
how after the 'Doctors' Plot', Stalin became inflamed with hatred against
the Jews. His rage grew until, shortly before his stroke in March,
'he told a meeting of Soviet leaders that he had decided to gather all
the community together and transport them to a northern region within a
new pale'. Krushchev told his audience that when Mikoyan and Voroshilov
protested and said that such conduct was worthy of Hitler, Stalin worked
himself into a fury.

By February, it was Moscow's turn again to be gripped by the new 'terror'.
Palgunov, the head of the Tass News Agency, vanished without trace. There
were arrests in Molotov's Foreign Office, members of which 'confessed'
to having connections with the bourgeois-imperialists. Even Madame Molotov
was arrested for no other reason than that she was a Jewess. Professors
disappeared from the Moscow University and the Academy of Science. Doctor
Frumkin, famous for his regenerative grafting of male sex organs, suffered
a severe heart attack, and there were fresh rumours that a number of other
physicians had been arrested in connection with the 'Doctors' Plot'.

In that same month, Doctor Saiffrudin Kitchlu, the Stalin Peace Prize
winner, visited the Kremlin and reported Stalin to be in vigorous health
and carrying his seventy-three years lightly. Senor Bravo, the Argentinian
Ambassador, and other

{p. 54} diplomats presenting their credentials, also remarked that
Stalin looked fit and well. Mr. K. P. S. Menon, the Indian Ambassador,
who went to the Kremlin on February 17th, reported finding Stalin in the
best of health. But throughout his interview, he remarked that Stalin
kept doodling on a pad of paper, as was his habit. Mr. Menon noticed that
he was drawing wolves one after another. And after a while, Stalin spoke
about wolves. He said that the Russian peasant knew how to deal with these
beasts by exterminating them. Wolves, Stalin said, realised this and behaved
accordingly. The Ambassador stated that he thought perhaps Stalin was referring
to American capitalist 'wolves'. There were those who, when they heard
this story, interpreted it differently.

The trouble was that during those first months of 1953, nobody knew
who were the 'wolves' destined to be exterminated. The Jews, of course.
But who else? The members of the disbanded Politburo? The Marshals
named as the prospective victims of the doctor-assassins? The men in
the Kremlin? Men like Kaganovich who was a Jew, and even Beria, whose mother
was said to have been Jewish?

On March 5th, when the first bulletin of Stalin's illness was published,
the new 'terror' was momentarily forgotten. On that day, Alexis, Patriarch
of All Russia, Solomon Schiffer, the Chief Rabbi, and the clergy of all
denominations bade the people pray for Stalin's recovery. And during those
anxious hours the churches were crowded with the faithful. One wonders
whether all their prayers were offered up with the same intention?


THE SOVIET NEWSPAPERS, possibly to please Stalin, to whom the idea of
death was said to be anathema, frequently published articles concerning
the longevity of Georgians, many of whom were reported as living to a hundred
and twenty and more years of age. Scientists and doctors of medicine -
men like Dr. Frumkin mentioned in the preceding chapter - devoted much
time and energy towards the prolongation of human life. And in the past
twenty-five years the Soviets claimed to have made great strides with their
experiments in this direction.

At seventy-three, Stalin was not old. Older than Lenin when he had suffered
a stroke, but still not old, certainly by Georgian standards. If Lenin
had recovered, then why should not Stalin, particularly as medicine had
progressed so much since Lenin's day? If there was any truth in the rumour
that Stalin had survived a stroke in 1947, there was no reason why he should
not recover from this latest attack. Such were the immediate reactions
of many to the first news of Stalin's illness.

Even western medical specialists, while agreeing that his condition
as described in that bulletin was serious, commented that his excellent
physical condition, rugged constitution, and his great will to live, would
help his doctors. And the fact that he had survived the initial attack,
greatly impressed western experts. However, some of them expressed surprise
that not one of the nine doctors mentioned as attending Stalin appeared
to be Jewish, although the Russian medical journals frequently gave the
names of Jewish doctors as the recognized brain specialists in the Soviet

{p. 56} Before writing this book, the author submitted all the bulletins
issued during Stalin's illness to a distinguished English doctor for comment.
The latter reported as follows:-

'I have studied the bulletins. My opinion is that these are perfectly
consistent with the view that Stalin died primarily of the results of a
cerebral haemorrhage complicated by the effects of coronary disease (the
coronary arteries are those which supply the heart itself with blood).
The irregularity of his pulse may have suggested that an electro-cardiogram
be done (this test was apparently performed at 11 a.m. on March 5th). The
unfavourable results were apparently broadcast at 8 p.m. on that day.

'Earlier (apparently at 2 a.m. on March 5th) it had been reported that
the cerebral haemorrhage had not been arrested; in addition to lesions
in the cortex (affecting speech and the right side of his body) new signs
were appearing which suggested that the medulla was being affected (what
they call the truncus cerebri). Here are located what are termed
vital centres regulating respiration and circulation. The disturbances
of circulation may have suggested the desirability of doing an electro-cardiogram.

'The treatment reported as having been carried out seems to me logical
and appropriate. They gave him oxygen (to aid respiration), camphor, strophanthin
and caffeine (to aid and strengthen the heart) and penicillin because
he had a raised temperature and an excess of leococytes (white corpuscles)
in his blood. (There is always a risk of a blood clot in the brain or anywhere
else becoming infected).

'The use of leeches strikes us as archaic, but is is remarkable till
how late these were kept in stock in London hospitals. Their intended effect
is to reduce congestion and in the past they were used in congested heart
failure. They could not possibly have done him any harm, and the doctors
may have decided to use leeches (or announce that these had been used)

{p. 57} because this form of treatment may still be regarded in the
USSR (especially amongst the rural populations) as a time-honoured remedy,
the omission of which might conceivably have provoked adverse comment among
the people to whom the description of modern treatments would be meanillgless.
It may well be that lecches were thought to wield some magical effect such
as sucking the poison out of one's system.'

It is inconceivable that this doctor, or any other, for that matter,
would be able to fault the medical bulletins. For even if, as some suspect,
these bulletins were without foundation because Stalin did not die of a
cerebral haemorrhage, they would still have been irrefutable. The Russians,
who as liars are without peer, would never have been so clumsy as to issue
any 'facts' about Stalin's fatal illness that could be suspect.

Nevertheless, it is interesting to note one similarity between the
treatment given to Stalin, and that administered to Menzhinsky by Dr. Levin
and Dr. Kazakov, as described by the former at his trial for murder.* This
similarity is the use of the drug strophanthus or strophanthin. This
drug, which is derived from the Nombe plant of Central Africa, and, incidentally,
used by the natives for arrow poison, acts as a cardiac tonic and a diuretic
(an agent which increases the flow of urine). It is one of the most
highly poisonous drugs known to the medical profession, and, consequently,
can only be injected in the minutest quantities. An overdose, however small,
would prove lethal.

Stalin's body, like that of Lenin, was embalmed and the viscera cremated.
But unlike Lenin's, his remains were the subject of a post mortem. On March
7th, Moscow radio announced that 'the examination established a large centre
of haemorrhage in the left hemisphere of the brain, and this haemorrhage
had destroyed vital parts of the brain and

* See Chapter III

{p. 58} affected breathing and blood circulation. The examination confirmed
that the doctors' diagnosis was correct and all the measures taken could
not have prevented the fatal outcome of Marshal Stalin's illness.'

This announcement, like the bulletins that had gone before it, was without
precedent, as also was the carrying out of the post mortem.

In order to make such an autopsy, the pathologists would have had to
remove the top of the skull so that the brain could be extracted and dissected.
Such, however, must have been the skill of the embalmers that no traces
of this major surgical operation were visible to those viewing Stalin's
body as it lay in state in the Hall of Columns forty-eight hours later.

Mr. Harrison Salisbury, the Moscow correspondent to the New York
, in his book, Stalin's Russia and After, described his
visit to the Hall of Columns on March 7th, as follows: '... together with
the Diplomatic Corps, I joined the fantastic procession that was hurried
and jostled, sixteen abreast, past the open coffin where Stalin lay, his
face as waxen as a calla lily. I stumbled in the blinding glare of the
klieg lights as I was forced at a half-trot past the bier, and, now, when
I try to bring back the picture in my mind I see only the masses of flowers,
the guard of honour half-hidden by the greenery, and the face of Stalin,
blanched as an almond, and his old hands which seemed still clutching,
in pain or terror, at the edge of his coverlet.'

{p. 59} Chapter VIII THE NEW ORDER

IP THIS INVESTIGATION was concerned with the political trend in Russia
after March 5th, 1953, our task would have been easy, for in a matter of
weeks, if not days, after Stalin's death, the clues were thick upon the
ground. At the samc time, too, it would have been almost as simple to have
gathered enough circumstantial evidence - in Soviet Russia there is seldom
any other kind - to prove which side would eventually win the battle for
power being waged in the Kremlin.

With almost indecent haste Stalin's name disappeared from the newspapers.
It was replaced, not by the name of any one man, but by those of Malenkov,
Molotov, Krushchev and Bulganin. Curiously - or so it seemed at the
time - Beria's name was not so prominent as the others, although he was
again back as head of State Security and Internal Affairs, merged together
once more.

If one member of the Party appeared slightly more in the foreground
than any other, it was Malenkov, with the result that the western world
talked of 'the new Malenkov Govemment.' But that, of course, was a misnomer,
for from its very outset the opposition to Malenkov was as strong as it
was sure of its success.

On March 14th, after holding office for less than ten days, Malenkov,
whom Beria in his funeral oration had called 'the talented pupil of Lenin
and loyal colleague of Stalin', resigned his post as Secretary of the Central
Committee of the Communist Party of the USSR.

On March 20th, the following communique confirming this was issued:-

{p. 60} At a meeting of the Central Committee of the Communist Party
of the Soviet Union, held on March 14th, 1953, the following decisions
were adopted:

1. To accede to the request made by Comrade G. M. Malenkov, Chairman
of the Council of Ministers of the USSR, that he be released from his duties
as Secretary of the Central Committee of the CPSU.

2. To elect as the Secretariat of the Central Committee of the CPSU,
Comrades N. S. Krushchev, M. A. Suslov, P. N. Pospelov, N. N. Shatalin,
S. D. Ignatyev.

3. In accordance with paragraph 32 of the Rules of the Communist Party
of the Soviet Union, to transfer Comrade N. N. Shatalin from the status
of an alternative member to that of a member of the Central Committee of
the CPSU.

So, on March 14th, Krushchev became First Secretary of the Party, although
he was not referred to yet as Secretary General or General Secretary, since
that had been Stalin's title. But that, in fact, is what he became when
he took over the key position by means of which Stalin had consolidated
his power after Lenin's death.

On March 15th, the IVth Session of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR was
held in the Great Kremlin Palace in Moscow. It was opened by Deputy M.
A. Yasnov, Chairman of the Soviet Union. He proposed that the deputies
rise in tribute to the 'bright memory of Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin'.
In sorrowful silence, in tribute to the great Stalin, the deputies and
guests rose in their places.

A little later in the session, Comrade Krushchev moved that Comrade
Voroshilov be elected Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of
the USSR. Comrade Krushchev's motion was unanimously adopted.

Then, Beria submitted the proposal that Comrade Malenkov be appointed
Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the

{p. 61} USSR, and requested Malenkov to submit to the Supreme Soviet
his proposal for the composition of the Council of Ministers of the USSR.

In his speech Beria repeated almost word for word what he had said
about Malenkov at Stalin's funeral, and again referred to his candidate
as 'the talented pupil of Lenin and loyal colleague of Stalin.'

The session unanimously resolved to appoint Comrade Malenkov Chairman
of the Council of Ministers of the USSR, amidst tumultuous applause.

The new Chairman then submitted the namcs of the Council of Ministers
to the assembly as follows: First Vice-Chairman and Minister of
Internal Affairs - Lavrenti Pavlovich Beria; Minister of Foreign
Affairs - Vyacheslav Mikhailovich Molotov; Minister of Defence-Marshal
of the Soviet Union Nikolai Alexandrovich Bulganin; President and
Chairman of the Supreme Council Presidium - Marshal Voroshilov;
Minister of Home and Foreign Trade-Anastas Ivanovich Mikoyan.

There then followed a list of the remaining ministers appointed, including
the Minister of State Control, Vsevolod Merkulov.

The newly elected Presidium lost no time in declaring its policy
of leniency towards many of those who had been harshly punished by the
former regime. On March 27th, a Decree of Amnesty was adopted which
stated: 'As a result of the consolidation of the Soviet social and State
system, the rise in the material and cultural standards of the population,
the growth of consciousness of the citizens, and their honesty in carrying
out their civic duty, law and order have been strengthened and crime
has considerably declined in the country.'

These flattering remarks were an overture to a decision to release
'from places of detention pcrsons who have committed crimes which do not
represent a great danger to the State'.

A week later, there occurred an event of the greatest possible

{p. 62} significance to our investigation. On April 3rd, the Soviet
Press published a communique issued by Lavrenti Beria's Ministry of Internal
Affairs, which read:

'The Ministry has made a thorough investigation of all the materials
of the preliminary investigation and other data in the case of a group
of physicians accused of wrecking, espionage and terrorist activities against
leaders of the Soviet State.

'As a result of verification it has been established that Professors
M. S. Vovsi, V. N. Vinogadov, M. B. Kogan, B. B. Kogan, P. I. Egorov, A.
I. Feldman, Y. G. Etinger, V. H. Vasilenko, A. M. Grinstein, V. F. Zelenin,
B. S. Preobrazhensky, N. A. Popova, V. V. Zakusov, N. A. Shereshevsky and
Doctor G. I. Mayorov implicated in this case were wrongly arrested
by the former Ministry of State Security of the USSR through the use of
methods of investigation which are inadmissible and most strictly forbidden
by Soviet law.

'On the basis ofthe finding ofthe investigation commission specially
set up by the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the USSR to verify the case,
the above-mentioned and others implicated in this case have been fully
cleared of the charges preferred against them and, in conformity with
Article 4, Point 5 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of the RSFSR, have
been released from custody.

'The persons guilty of the improper conduct of the investigation have
been arrested and are criminally held responsible.'

The communique also stated that the award of the Order of Lenin to
Doctor Lidya Timashuk, the woman doctor who had accused the physicians,
had been annulled.

It should be noted that the fact that the communique gave the name of
fifteen professors and doctors and referred to 'others implicated in this
case' confirmed the rumours that other doctors had been arrested in connection
with the 'plot'.

The release of the doctors and the official pronouncement

{p. 63} that they had been wrongfully arrested, inspired Pravda to publish
a leader headed 'Soviet Socialist Law Is Inviolable'. In this the onus
of the scandal was laid on 'the former leaders of the Ministry of State
Security', amongst them Ignatyev and Ryumin. The former was dismissed from
the Secretariat of the Central Committee, while the latter, who had been
Deputy Minister and Chief of the Investigation Section of the Ministry,
was arrested.

Pravda denounccd Ryumin as 'a contemptiblc adventurer' who
had framed the Kremlin physicians, and then went on to declare that
the new regime's courage in unmasking such villains was proof of its internal
unity and strength.

From having been "hired assassins of JOINT, 'spies', and 'saboteurs',
the released doctors were once more 'honest Soviet citizens' and 'eminent
scientists", the 'victims of criminals who dared to ride rough-shod
over the inalienable rights of Soviet citizens inscribed in our Constitution'.

Thus, the doctors were set frce and exonerated from their alleged crimes.
Yet, the 'Doctors' Plot' which was the spark that set alight the new
purge that threatened the lives of countless numbers of Russians, is a
mystery and is likely to remain such for generations.

Who was its instigator ? Who conceivcd this tortuous intrigue that incited
Stalin's rage to the pitch when he vowed to exterminate the entire Jewish
community in Russia?

When Krushchev referred to the plot in his 'secret' speech, he threw
his huge audience into a state of consternation.

'Let us recall the "Affair of the Doctor-Plotters",'*
he said. 'Actually, there was no "affair" outside the declaration
of the woman doctor, Timashuk, who was probably influenced or ordered
by someone to write Stalin a letter in which she declared that the doctors
were applying supposedly improper methods of medical treatmcnt.'

* Author's italics

{p. 64} It is incredible that those ambiguous words were used by the
best-informed man in Russia to explain away a scandal that had shaken the
Soviet Party and the USSR to its foundations.

Again, it may be asked: 'Who was that someone to whom the First Secretary
referred in such vague or evasive terms?'

Someone, it is logical to assume, of importance in the Party and close
to Stalin, since Krushchev admitted: 'Such a letter was sufficient*
for Stalin to reach an immediate conclusion* that there were doctor-plotters
in the Soviet Union. He issued orders at once to arrest a group of eminent
Soviet medical specialists. He personally gave advice on the conduct
of the investigation and the method of interrogation of the arrested persons.
He said that Academician Vinogradov should be put in chains; another beaten.
Present at this Congress as a delegate is the former Minister of State
Sccurity, Comrade Ignatiev. Stalin told him: 'If you do not obtain confessions
from the doctors we will shorten you by a head !'

So Stalin was sufficiently convinced by the letter of the woman doctor
'who was probably influenced or ordered by someone' to reach the immediate
conclusion that these distinguished physicians, who were personally known
to him since they attended upon the Kremlin, were a gang of murderers.
It does not make sense.

And what of Comrade Ignatiev, the man whom Pravda had accused
of riding rough-shod over the inalienable rights of Soviet citizens ? Surely
he could have thrown some light on the mystery or even identified the nebulous
someone who appeared to have been responsible for the affair that never
existed outside the declaration of Lidya Timashuk? But, perhaps, once again
he had saved his head from being shortened by obeying the orders ofthe
First Secretary? Was silence the price he had paid for his reinstatement
to the membership of the Party?

Krushchev's explanation of the 'Doctors' Plot' was no ex-

* Author's italics.

{p. 65} planation at all. He merely blamed Stalin for everything.

'Stalin,' he said, 'personally sent for the investigation Judge, gave
him instructions and advised him as to the methods he should use. These
methods were simple - beat, beat, and, once again, beat !'

'This ignominious case was set by Stalin,' Krushchev told his hushed
audience. 'But,' he added, 'he did not have time to bring it to an end
- as he conceived that end - and for that reason the doctors are still

It may well be asked: 'And how many others?'

{p. 84} It was not merely by coincidence that Bulganin, Malenkov, Molotov,
and Krushchev addressed the same meetings, appeared together on the same
platforms, visited the same factories, and stood side by side in the same
photographs, one never more prominent than another, but sharing the limelight
equally between them. And the backcloth was always Lenin's portrait.

Thus, after the curtain rose on the 20th Congress of the Communist
Party of the USSR in the white and gold assembly room of the Kremlin Palace,
it seemed only natural to the thousand delegates present that one speaker
after another should repudiate individualism.

The trend of the Congress was succinctly summed up by a resolution
passed during the proceedings, which stated:

'The 20th Congress and the entire policy of the Central Committee of
the Soviet Party of the USSR since Stalin's death clearly show that,
within the Central Committee of the Party, there was a Leninist core of
leaders who correctly understood the immediate requirements of both
internal and foreign policies . . . And immediately after Stalin's death,
this Leninist core of the Central Committee began a resolute struggle against
the personality cult and its grave consequences.

At the same time, this resolution could have left no doubt in
the minds of the delegates that the rumours of internal Party strife
at the time of Stalin's death were well-founded. That reference
to 'a Leninist core' plainly indicated the existence of turbulent factions
within the Central Committee. It was obvious too from the wording of the
resolution that these factions had become involved in a 'resolute strugglc'
the moment Stalin died.

And as one speaker followed another, it became comparatively easy to
judge who belonged to which faction. Comrades Malenkov, Kaganovich, Molotov,
and Shepilov were ranged

{p. 85} against First Secretary Krushchev, Comrades Kikoyan and Pospelov,
Pravda's editor, and the soldiers, represented by Marshals Bulganin,
Voroshilov, and Zhukov. However, it was not quite so casy at the outset
of the Congress to pinpoint the cause of the trouble.

On the face of it, it seemed absurd to divide the members of the Central
Committee into 'Stalinists' and 'anti-Stalinists' They had all been 'Stalinists',
at least, ostensibly, until March 5th, 1953. With the possiblc exception
of Comrade Mikoyan they had all referred to one another as faithful 'pupils'
'disciples', and 'loyal supporters' of the great Stalin. One had only to
recall those funeral orations to prove that. Unlike Lavrenti Beria, none
of them could be an out-and-out individualist and, therefore, openly opposed
to this new doctrine of collective-leadership for, unlike Bcria, they were
all present at this Congress.

When Comrade Mikoyan rose to speak, he severely censored the old regime,
condemning its architecture as obsolete; fit only to be demolished and
rebuilt. In his suave manner Mikoyan, who always dressed likc a bourgcois
capitalist rather than a Party worker, even ventured to criticise Stalin
by name. And since his speech was reported in the newspapers and over the
radio, it made history. For never before had Soviet citizens read or listened
to Stalin's name in a critical connection. But those who read their papers
intelligently were not wholly unprepared for such a shock, for shortly
before the Congrcss opened, Pravda had come out with an editorial
headed, 'The Cult of the Individual' that clearly showed which way the
wind was blowing.

Ncvcrthclcss, even for those delegates who had suspectcd him of anti-Stalinist
tendencies, Mikoyan's speech must have sounded surprisingly outspoken.
Yet it could not have prepared them for what was to come.

On the last day, February 24th, the Congress went into

{p. 86} secret session, and it was after midnight when First Secretary
Nikita Krushchev rose to address the delegates. The speech he delivered
is now known to the whole world as the 'secret' speech. We have already
quoted from it in these pages. Now, we must examine it in detail. It
was a long speech and lasted for three and a half hours. But since,
to say the least, it is relevant to this investigation, we offer no excuse
for quoting long passages from it. However, it is important they should
be read in the light of what has already been written.

The First Secretary began:

'Comrades ! In the report of the Central Committee of the Party at the
Twentieth Congress, in a number of speeches by delegates to the Congress,
and also during recent plenary sessions of the Central Committee, quite
a lot has been said about the cult of the individual and about its harmful

'After Stalin's death, the Central Committee of the Party began to
implement a policy of explaining concisely and consistently that
it is impermissible and foreign to the spirit of Marxism-Leninism
to elevate one person, to transform him into a superman possessing supernatural
characteristics akin to those of a god. Such a man supposedly knows
everything, sees everything, thinks for everyone, can do anything, is infallible
in his behaviour.

'Such a belief about a man - and specifically about Stalin - was cultivated
among us for many years.

'The object of the present report is not a thorough evaluation of Stalin's
life and activity. Concerning Stalin's merits, an entirely sufficient number
of books, pamphlets and studies have already been written in his lifetime
. . . At present we are concerned with a question which has immense importance
for the Party now and for the future. With how the cult of the person of
Stalin has been gradually growing, the cult which became at a certain specific

{p. 87} the source of a whole series of exceedingly serious and grave
perversions of Party principles, of Party democracy, of revolutionary legality.

'Because of the fact that not all as yet have fully realised the practical
consequences resulting from the cult of the individual, the great harm
caused by the violation of the principle of collective direction of the
Party, and because of the accumulation of immense and limitless power in
the hands of a person - the Central Committee of the Party considers it
absolutely necessary to make this material pertaining to this matter available
to the Twentieth Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.'

With these words Krushchev began his indictment of Stalin, thus placing
the responsibility for everything he was to say upon the Central Committee.
He spoke in its name, with its connivance, as its First Secretary. What
is more, as he told the delegates - not at the beginning but almost at
the end of his speech - everything he had said was confidential and for
their ears alone.

'We cannot', he warned them, 'let this matter get out of the Party,
especially to the Press. It is for this reason that we are considering
it here at a closed Congress session. We should know the limits; we should
not give ammunition to the enemy; we should not wash our dirty linen before
their eyes ...'

Incredible as it may seem, that is what he said! Could he really have
been so naive as to believe that his indictment of Stalin would never be
heard outside the gilded walls of the Kremlin Palace? Did he not realise
that he was providing his enemies with a wholr arsenal of ammunition with
which to sabotage Communism all over the world?


EARLY IN HIS SPEECH Krushchev set about destroying 'the iconography'
as Trotsky had called it, which portrayed Stalin in Lenin's company;
in other words, the hyphenate of 'Stalinist-Leninism', which Stalin himself
had invented and so skilfully used in his early days to impose himself
upon the Central Committee. (It is worth noting that throughout his
career, which has so faithfully followed the Stalin pattern, Krushchev
has shown a marked tendency to do exactly the same.)

'During Lenin's life', the First Secretary went on, ' the Central Committee
of the Party was a real expression of collective leadership of the Party
and the nation. Being a militant Marxist-revolutionist, always unyielding
in matters of principle, Lenin never imposed by force his views upon
his co-workers. He tried to convince some; he patiently explained his
opinions to others.

'In addition to the great accomplishments of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin
. . . His great mind expressed itself also in that he detected in Stalin
in time those negative characteristics which resulted later in grave consequences.*

'Fearing the future fate of the Party and of the Soviet nation, Lenin
made a completely correct characterisation of Stalin, pointing out that
it was necessary to consider the question of transferring Stalin from the
position of the Secretary-General because of the fact that Stalin is
excessively rude, that he does not have a proper attitude towards his comrades,
that he is capricious and abuses his power.

* Author's italics.

{p. 89} 'In December, 1922, in a letter to the Party Congress Vladimir
Ilyich wrote:-

"After taking over the position of Secretary-General Comrade
Stalin accumulated in his hands immeasurable power, and I am not certain
whether he will always be able to use this power with the required care."

'This letter - a political document of tremendous importance,
known in the Party history as Lenin's "Testament" - was distributed
among the delegates to the Twentieth Party Congress.

'You have read it, and will undoubtedly read it again more than once.

'You might reflect on Lenin's plain words, in which expression is given
to Vladimir llyich's anxiety concerning the Party, the people, the State,
and the future dircction of Party policy.

It must be remembered that the Lenin 'Testament' was banned during Stalin's
lifetime, and it says much for the internal security in Russia under Stalin
that there were many delegates to the Congress who had never heard of the
famous document. If they had, it would not have been necessary for Krushchev
to break off in the middle of reading it to explain what it was. He
went on reading it:-

"Stalin is excessively rude, and this defect, which can be freely
tolerated in our midst and in contacts among us Communists, bccomes a defect
which cannot be tolerated in one holding the position of the Secretary-General.
Because of this, I propose that the comrades consider the method by
which Stalin would be removed from this position and by which another
man would be selected for it, a man who, above all, would differ from Stalin
in only one quality, namely, greater tolcrance, greater loyalty, greater
kindness and more considerate attitude towards comrades, a less capricious
temper, etc."

{p. 94} Chapter XV AN ENEMY OF THE PARTY

WHILE DESTROYING THE IDOL OF STALIN, the First Secretary went to great
pains to restore that of Lenin to its former place. Like Stalin, he
must have realised that the only way to supreme power was by declaring
his abject devotion to Vladimir Ilyich.

'Our Party,' Krushchev declared, 'fought for the implementation of Lenin's
plans for the construction of Socialism. This was an ideological fight.
Had Leninist principles been observed during the course of this fight,
had the Party's devotion to principles been skilfully combined with a keen
and solicitous concern for people, had they not been repelled and wasted
but rather drawn to our side - we would certainly not have had such a brutal
violation of revolutionary legality and many thousands of people would
not have fallen victim ofthe method of terror. Extraordinary methods would
then have been resorted to only against those people who had committed
criminal acts against the Soviet system.'

{Yet the Terror was set up by Lenin and Trotsky themselves}

Still delving deep into the past, Krushchev harked back to the days
of the October Revolution when two members of the Central Committee - Kamenev
and Zinoviev - had opposed Lenin's plan for an armed uprising. Lenin, always
the humanitarian, forgave them. Then, Krushchev cited the case of the Trotskyites
as another instance of Lenin's tolerance.

'At present, after a sufficiently long historical period,' Krushchev
said, 'we can speak about the fight with the Trotskyites with complete
calm and can analyse this matter with sufficient objectivity. After all,
around Trotsky were people whose origin cannot by any means be traced

{p. 95} bourgeois society. Part of them belonged to the Party
intelligentsia and a certain part were recruited from among the workers.
We can name many individuals who in their time joined the Trotskyites;
however, these same individuals took an active part in the workers' movement
before the Revolution, during the Socialist October Revolution itself,
and also in the consolidation of the victory of this greatest of all revolutions.
Many of them broke with Trotskyism and returned to Leninist positions.
Was it necessary to annihilate such people? We are deeply convinced
that had Lenin lived such an extreme method would not have been taken against
any of them.'

Almost in the same breath, Krushchev posed another question to the Congress.

'But can it be said that Lenin did not decide to use even the most severe
means against enemies of the Revolution when this was actually necessary?
No, no one can say this. Vladimir Ilyich demanded uncompromising dealings
with the enemies of the Revolution and of the working class, and when necessary
resorted ruthlessly to such methods.'

By this method of question and answer, Krushchev struck a sinister note
of warning. Evidently, there was a subtle difference between 'enemies
of the people' and 'enemies of the Revolution.' And in the name of
Vladimir llyich Lcnin, it was right and proper to annihilate the latter
by the most ruthless methods.

But what Lenin did in the name of the Rcvolution, Stalin continued to
do when the Revolution had been won and domestic peace reigned over the
Soviet State.

'Then,' said Krushchev, 'Stalin showed in a whole series of cases
his intolerance, his brutality and his abuse of power. Instead of
proving his political correctness and mobilising the masses, he
often chose the path of repression and physical annilation, not only against
actual enemies ...

{p. 116} Surely, to have proved to the Congress that Stalin's
wilfulness and haughtiness was leading the country towards war would
have given strength to Krushchev's argument against the cult of the
individual. Why, then, did he refrain from making this telling point?
Was he afraid that by so doing he would over-play his hand and
so foster the suspicion that Stalin's death was a 'miracle' that had
saved the Soviet people from the horrors of a third World War?

Whatever his reasons, Krushchev dropped the subject of Stalin's foreign
policy after assuring his listeners as follows:

'We have carefully examined the case of Yugoslavia and have found a
proper solution which is approved by the peoples of the Soviet Union and
of Yugoslavia as well as by the working masses of all the people's democracies
and by all progressive humanity. The liquidation ofthe abnormal relationship
with Yugoslavia was done in the interest of the whole camp of Socialism,
in the interest of strengthening peace in the whole world.'

Now, the wording of that last sentence cannot but strike the reader
as odd. How better to liquidate that abnormal relationship than by liquidation
of the man whose mania for greatness had created it?


WE HAVE NOW REACHED THAT POINT in Krushchev's speech when he startled
his audience by suddenly referring to 'the affair of the doctor-plotters.'

In Chapter 6 we have already quoted a part of the First Secretary's
brief and extremely ambiguous explanation of this famous scandal. He
continued as follows:

'Shortly after the doctors were arrested we members of the Political
Bureau received protocols with the doctors' confessions of guilt. After
distributing these protocols Stalin told us, "You are blind
like young kittens; what will happen without me? The country will perish
because you do not know how to recognize enemies".

'The case was so presented that no one could verify the facts on which
the investigation was based. There was no possibility of trying to verify
facts by contacting those who had madc the confcssions of guilt.

'We felt, however, that the case of the arrested doctors was questionable.
We knew some of these people personally because they had once treated
us. When we examined this "case" after Stalin's death, we found
it to be fabricated from beginning to end.

'This ignominious "case" was set up by Stalin; he did not,
however, have the time in which to bring it to an end - as he conceived
that end - for this reason the doctors are still alive. Now all have
been rehabilitated; they are working in the same places they were working
before; they treat top individuals, not excluding members of the

{p. 118} Government; they have our full confidence; and they execute
their duties honestly as they did before.

'In organising the various dirty and shameful cases, a very base role
was played by the rabid enemy of our Party, an agent of a foreign intelligence
service - Beria, who had stolen into Stalin's confidence. In what
way could this provocateur gain such a position in the Party and the State,
so as to become the first Deputy Chairman of the Council of Ministers of
the Soviet Union and a member of the Central Committee Political Bureau?
It has now been established that this villain had climbed up the Government
ladder over an untold number of corpses.'

Let us dissect this statement and examine it thoroughly in the light
of what has been written.

At the time of the doctor's arrest Stalin was in good health. Indeed,
we have the evidence of Doctor Kitchlu, Senor Bravo, Mr. Menon and others
to prove that he was perfectly well; in fact, in vigorous health and carrying
his seventy-three lightly, in February, less than three weeks before he
died. Seventy-three is no great age for a Georgian. Moreover, as we have
said, it is a well-known fact that, like many old men, Stalin hated the
mere thought of death, and it was never mentioned in his presence. Is it
likely, then, that he would have spoken as Krushchev states? Would this
man, to whom the very word death was anathema, havc said, in effect; 'What
will happen to you all when I die? When I am dead you will perish.'

Remember, Krushchev had said that 'Stalin was a very distrustful man-sickly
suspicious ... This sickly suspicion caused him to distrust even eminent
Party workers whom he had known for years.' Yet Krushchev would have us
believe that Stalin talked about what would happen when he was gone in
front of members of the Political Bureau whom he did not trust further
than he could see them.

{p. 119} Like the First Secretary's other anecdotes about Malenkov and
Mikoyan, this story does not ring true. But, like those others, Krushchev
told it with an ulterior motive. He wanted to create the impression in
the minds of the delegates that at the time of the 'Doctors' Plot' Stalin
was an old man; a vain old man preoccupied with death, yet fearing what
would happen to Russia when the blind young kittens ruled in his stead.

Why could the facts on which the investigation into the 'Doctors'
Plot' were based not be verified? According to Krushchev, neither he
nor Mikoyan were cowards where Stalin was concerned. They had questioned
his decisions and contradicted his opinions in the past. Yet, now, when
the lives of these doctors, who had once treated them, were at stake, they
never said a word. They believed in the innocence of these unfortunate
men, but made no protest when they were handcd the protocols of their 'confessions'
which were in the familiar pattern of all those other 'confessions'. But,
perhaps, Krushchev really expected to be believed when he said that it
was not until they examined the 'case' after Stalin's death that they found
it was fabricated from beginning to end.'

Having found out, why not clean up such a dirty and shameful case once
and for all by telling the whole truth about it? Why not tell the delegates
that far from being murdered by the Kremlin physicians, Comrade Zhdanov
had died of angina pectoris and cardiac asthma in 1948, and Comrade Shcherbakov
of a 'paralysis of the heart' in 1945? Surely, since the doctors were
once more treating top individuals and members of the Government, amongst
whom these particular diseases appeared so prevalent, the true facts should
have been made known ?

Would it not have cleared the air if Krushchev had told his listeners
that, amongst Stalin's other manias, and sickly suspicions, was the one
that his enemies were trying to poison him? It would have been so easy
to have laid the blame on

{p. 120} Beria for the whole business. It would have been so convincing
- not to say reassuring for their patients - if the First Secretary had
handed out protocols from the rehabilitated physicians stating precisely
what had really happened. But since he did none of these things, the 'Doctors'
Plot' must continue to remain a mystery.

It will remain a mystery, too, how Beria not only retained his position
in the Party and the State after Stalin's death, but was given back
his old job at the head of the Ministries of State Security and Internal
Affairs. Krushchev offers no explanation for that extraordinary situation.
Yet, this is what he had to say about 'the rabid enemy of the Party':

'Were there any signs that Beria was an enemy of the Party? Yes, there
were. Already in 1937 at a Central Committee plenum, former People's Commissar
of Health Protection Kaminsky said Beria worked for the Mussavat intelligence
service. But the Central Committee plenum had barely concluded when Kaminsky
was arrested and then shot. Had Stalin examined Kaminsky's statement? No,
because Stalin believed in Beria, and that was enough for him. And when
Stalin believed in anyone or anytlling, then - no one could say anything
which was contrary to his opinion; any one who would dare express opposition
would have met the same fate as Kaminsky ...'

It is only necessary to remark that this statement seems inconsistent
with Krushchev's previous statements about Stalin's suspicious and distrustful

As further proof of Beria's duplicity, Krushchev followed his usual
formula by quoting at length from the pages of Soviet Party History. He
first read a long declaration made to the Central Committee by Snegov who,
after being in prison for seventeen years, had been rehabilitated. This
proved that in 1931 Beria had been directly responsible for the death of
a certain Comrade Kartvelishvili.

{p. 121} Krushchcv cited at great length and with a wealth of detail
two further cases; that of the old Communist and friend of Lenin, Kedrov,
shot at Beria's orders, and Ordzhonikidze, once a close associate of Stalin's,
who after attempting to expose Beria, committed suicide. These cases are
only of interest to our investigation because they clearly illustrate how
faithfully Krushchev stuck to the formula of producing evidence from the
distant past in proving his case. All that he had to say about Beria's
recent criminal activitics - about those 'heinous crimes aimed at physically
exterminating honest people' and his 'criminal anti-Soviet designs' is
contained in the following two sentences:

'Beria was unmasked by thc Party's Central Con1mittee shortly after
Stalin's death. As a result of the particularly detailed legal proceedings
it was established that Beria had committed monstrous crimes and Beria
was shot.'

That was all! Not a word of explanation. No mention of the seventy-six
hour siege of Moscow. No reason given why Lavrenti Beria remained in
high office for four months after the death of Stalin. Not a single quotation
from those 'particularly detailed lcgal proceedings'. Nothing!

To paraphrase Krushchev's own words: the question arises why Beria,
who had liquidated tens of thousands of Party and Soviet workers, was not
unmasked immediately after the death of Stalin?

That question still remains unanswered. And probably it always will.

* Author's italics.

{p. 122} Chapter XX TOWARDS THE MOTIVE

TIRELESSLY, RELENTLESSLY, the First Secretary's speech went on as the
clock in the Spassky Tower of the Kremlin chimed out the hours of a new

'Comrades! The cult of the individual acquired such monstrous size chiefly
because Stalin himself, using all conceivable methods, supported the glorification
of his own person ... Was it without Stalin's knowledge that many of the
largest enterprises and towns were named after him? Was it without his
knowledge that Stalin monuments were erected in the whole country - these
"memorials to the living?" ... Comrades! The cult of the individual
has caused the employment of faulty principles in Party work and in economic
activity ... Comrades! If we sharply criticise to-day the cult of the individual
which was so widespread during Stalin's life and if we speak about the
many negative phenomena generated by this cult, which is so alien to the
spirit of Marxism-Leninism, various persons may ask: "HOW could it
be? Stalin headed the Party and the country for thirty years and many victories
were gained during his lifetime! Can we deny this?" In my opinion,
the question can be asked in this manner only by those who are blind and
hopelessly hypnotised by the cult of the individual, only by those who
do not understand the essence of the revolution and of the Soviet State,
only by those who do not understand, in a Leninist manner, the role of
the Party and of the nation in the development of the Soviet society ...'

Stalin was to blame for everything. That was the essence

{p. 123} of this part of the First Secretary's speech. And now
that Stalin was dead, conditions were improving everywhere; on the collective
farms, in the factories, and in Russia's relationship with foreign countrics.
Then, Krushchev said:

'Some comrades may ask us; where were the members of the Political
Bureau and the Central Committee? Why did they not assert themselves
against the cult of the individual in time? And why is this being done
only now'?

The questions were pertinent. But thc answers could scarcely have been
less apposite.

'First of all', Krushchev explained, 'we have to consider the fact that
the members of the Political Bureau vicwed these matters in a different
way at different times. Initially, many of them backed Stalin actively
because Stalin was one of the strongest Marxists and his logic, his strength
and his will greatly influenced the cadres and Party work.

'It is known that Stalin, after Lcnin's death, especially during the
first years, actively fought for Leninism against the enemies of the Lenin
theory and against those who deviated ... Later, however, Stalin, abusing
his power more and more, began to fight eminent Party members and Government
leaders and to use terrorist methods against honest Soviet people ... Attempts
to oppose groundless suspicions and charges resulted in the opponent falling
victim to repression ... It is clear that such conditions put every member
of the Political Bureau in a very difficult situation. And when we also
consider the fact that in the last years the Central Committee plenary
scssions were not convened and that sessions of the Political Bureau occurred
only occasionally, from time to time, then we will understand how difficult
it was for any member of the Political Bureau to take a stand against one
or another unjust or improper procedure against serious errors and shortcomings
in the practices of leadership ...'

{p. 124} In other words, none of the Party hierarchy dared to stand
up to Stalin at the risk of being liquidated.

Krushchev then treated the delegates to another anecdote to illustrate
the precarious position of members of the Central Committee at that time.

'In the situation which then prevailed', he told them, 'I have talked
often with Nikolai Alexandrovich Bulganin. Once when we two were travelling
in a car, he said, "It has happened sometimes that a man goes to Stalin
on his invitation as a friend, and when he sits with Stalin, he does not
know where he will go next - home or to gaol".'

If, in fact, Bulganin really did say that, one wonders whether he recalls
the remark now as he sits, a lonely exile, discredited and dishonoured
for having wavered in his support of First Secretary Krushchev in the latter's
battle against Malenkov, Molotov and Kaganovich in 1957? Banished from
Moscow, does the Marshal reflect upon how similar has been Krushchev's
rise to power with that of Stalin's? If so, he must feel grateful that
the new Master prefers to banish his old comrades instead of liquidating

However, to return to Krushchev's vindication of himself and his comrades
for tolerating Stalin's monstrous behaviour.

'The importance of the Central Committee's Political Bureau,' he said,
'was reduced and its work was disorganised by the creation within the political
Bureau of various commissions - the so-called "Quintets", "Sextets",
"Septets" and "Novenaries". Here is, for instance,
a resolution of the Political Bureau of October 3rd, 1946:- 'Stalin's proposal:-

1. The Political Bureau Commission for Foreign Affairs (Sextet) is to
concern itself in the future, in addition to foreign affairs, also with
matters of internal construction and domestic policy.

2. The Sextet is to add to its roster the Chairman of the

{p. 125} State Commission of Economic Planning of the USSR, Comrade
Vozesensky, and is to be known as a Septet. 'Signed: Secretary of the Central
Committee, J. Stalin.'

'What a terminology of a card player!' Krushchev exclaimed, amidst laughter.
'It is clear that the creation within the Political Bureau of this type
of commission - "Quintets", "Sextets", "Septets"
and "Novenaries" - was against the principle of collective leadership.
The result of this was that some members of the Political Bureau were in
this way kept away from participation in reaching the most important State

'One of the oldest members of our Party, Kliment Yefremovich Voroshilov,
found himself in an almost impossible situation. For several years he was
actually deprived of the right to participate in Political Bureau sessions.
Stalin forbade him to attend the Political Bureau sessions and to receive
documents. When the Political Bureau was in session and Comrade Voroshilov
heard about it, he telephoned each time and asked whether he would be allowed
to attend. Sometimes Stalin permitted it, but always showed his dissatisfaction.

'Because of his extreme suspicion, Stalin toyed also with the absurd
and ridiculous suspicion that Voroshilov was an English agent.

This revelation was greeted with laughter.

'It is true - an English agent!' Krushchev assured the delegates. 'A
special tapping device was installed in his home to listen to what was
said there', he added.

At the time of writing, Voroshilov is still in power. But, when we considcr
what has since become of the subject of Krushchev's other anecdotes, we
cannot but ask: For how much longer?

'By unilateral decision', the First Secretary continued, 'Stalin had
also separated one other man from the work of

{p. 126} the Political Bureau - Andrev Andreyevich Andreyev. This was
one of the most unbridled acts of wilfulness.

'Let us consider the first Central Committee plenum after* the
Nineteenth Party Congress when Stalin, in his talk at the plenum, characterised
Vyacheslav Ivanovich Molotov and Anastas Ivanovich Mikoyan and suggested
that these old workers of our Party were guilty of some baseless charges.

'It is not excluded that had Stalin remained at the helm for another
several months, Comrades Molotov and Mikoyan would probably have not delivered
any speeches at this Congress.

'Stalin evidently had plans to finish off the old members of the
Political Bureau. He often statcd that Political Bureau members should
be replaced by new ones.

'His proposal, after the Nineteenth Congress, concerning the selection
of twenty-five persons to the Central Committee Presidium was aimed at
the removal of the old Political Bureau members and the bringing in of
less-experienced persons so that these would extol him in all sorts of

'We can assume that this was also a design for the filtllre annihilation*
of the old Political Bureau members and in this way the cover for all shameful
acts of Stalin, acts which we are now considering.'

Let us consider these revealing words with the greatest care.

Firstly, let us examine Krushchev's statement that at a plenum of the
Central Committee after the Nineteenth Congress in October 1952, Stalin
laid some 'baseless charges' against Molotov and Mikoyan. Since he did
not say what these charges were, it is useless to speculate as to their
character. However, according to Krushchev, Stalin 'suggested that these
old Party workers were guilty'. How is it then that they not only escaped
punishment but retained their positions in the Government? Having made
such accusations against them in

*Author's italics.

{p. 127} the presence of the Central Committee, it seems most unlikely
that Stalin would have taken no further action.

Krushchev states that these charges were laid at the plenum of the Central
Committee; that is on October 17th, 1952. Therefore, his sinister speculation
as to what might have happened to Molotov and Mikoyan had Stalin 'remained
at the helm for another several months' is pointless.

Stalin, in fact, lived for more than four months after that meeting.

Secondly, let us examine Krushchev's statements that Stalin 'evidently
had plans to finish off the old members of the Political Bureau' and that
he had 'a design for the future almihilation' of the old members of that

Since Krushchev did not see fit to offer a shred of evidence in support
of those astonishing accusations, let us acccpt them as they stand.

Krushchev himself has aLready made it palpably clear that Stalin had
rendered the members of the Political Bureau ineffectual by splitting them
into 'Quintets' and 'Septets'. Their posts were mere sinecures. None of
them had any voice in the Government of their country. None of them dared
to cxprcss an opinion unless it echoed Stalin's views.

Yet, Stalin had plam1ed to 'finish them off'.

If Krushchev is to be believed, Stalin was determined to rid himself
of the very men whom he had trained into submission and to replace
them by others.


In all the years they had served him, these old members of the Political
Bureau had never questioned his judgment or protested against his despotism.
But now, suddenly, after the plenum of the Central Committee on October
17th, 1952, Stalin made up his mind to 'finish off' the 'blind young
kittens' whose eyes were so conveniently shut to all his wilfulness and

{p. 128} Why?

Krushchev would have us believe that having gone to all the trouble
of splitting them up into harmless little groups, Stalin immediately decided
to annihilate them all.


Is it possible that those little 'Sextets' and 'Novenaries' were
not so harmless? Could it have been that, smarting under the Secretary-General's
open contempt, the old members of the Political Bureau had begun intriguing
behind his back? Is it not within the bounds of probability that
another several months after the plenum of the Central Committee, in
January, 1953, to be precise, Stalin discovered that these slighted
and moody men were planning to poison him with the connivance of certain
doctors in attendance on the Kremlin?

{p. 129} Chapter XXI AN ANALYSIS

'COMRADES! The Twentieth Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet
Union had manifested with a new strength the unshakable unity of our Party,
its cohesiveness around the Central Committee, its resolute will to accomplish
the great task of building Communism.

'And the fact that we present in all their ramifications the basic problems
of overcoming the cult of the individual which is alie to Marxism-Leninism,
as well as the problem of liquidating its burdensome consequences, is evidence
of the great moral and political strength of our Party.

'We are absolutely certain that our Party, armed with the historical
resolutions of the Twentieth Congress, will lead the Soviet people along
the Leninist path to new successes, to new victones.

'Long live the victorious banner of our Party-Leninism!' With those
words, amidst prolonged and tumultuous applause, ending in a standing
ovation, Nikita Krushchev concluded his speech.

It may well be asked, why did he ever make it?

The wishful thinking which he indulged in that it would remain a secret
was short-lived. Less than a month after the Twentieth Congress, as
a direct result of the shock of the 'secret' speech, there were riots in
Tiflis. Within a matter of weeks, the speech was fully reported by
the foreign Press, and having read it, thousands of loyal Communists
all over the world, who until then had given blind allegiance to the Party,
renounced Communism for ever.

To claim as Krushchev did that in order to destroy the cult

{p. 130} of the individual it was necessary to make such a fearful indictment
of Stalin, is not true. We have seen how quickly Stalin's name was forgotten
in the USSR.

We have seen how calmly and with what few tears the Russian people received
the news of his death. After their brief moment of mourning, they went
about the State's business as if nothing had happened. Incredibly, Stalin's
death made scarcely a ripple on the waters. Indeed, the new leaders
who, as we have also seen, so greatly feared that the shock of Stalin's
passing might cause popular demonstrations, had good reason to be thankful
for the fact that nowhere in the whole of the USSR was there the slightest
sign of unrest.

If more workers than usual queued patiently to enter the mausoleum in
the Red Square now that Stalin lay beside Lenin, it was probably out of
curiosity to see in the flesh the man known to them only through his photographs.
The novelty would soon wear off.

Left to the Russian climate, the statues of Stalin would crack and crumble.
Except culturally, they did no harm to the people.

In numerous ways, the new regime had already demonstrated that
under collective leadership terrorism was ended. Beria, the arch-assassin,
had been publicly discredited and shot. The wings of the dreaded secret
police had been clipped. Under the Decree on Amnesty, the thousands released
from places of detention had returned to their homes all over the country
as living evidence of the tolerance of the new rulers of the USSR. After
Stalin's death, the whole vast machinery of Soviet propaganda went to work
to spread the doctrine of Leninism and colleaguality at home. While abroad,
Lenin's own phrase 'peaceful co-existence' was freely used to express the
new Government's foreign policy. And to foster this illusion, first Malenkov,
and then Krushchev and Bulganin set out on a round of visits to shake hands
with bourgeois imperialists.

{p. 131} Then, suddenly and without a word of warning, three years
after Stalin's death Krushchev launches his bitter, recriminating attack.

To what purpose?

So far as the delegates to the Congress were concerned, the large majority
must have been aware of the terror that had dominated Russia for thirty
years, even if there were not many left who knew the awful details as revealed
by Krushchev.

If we accept the fact that Krushchev was not really so naive as to think
his speech would remain a secret from the outside world, why did he go
to such lengths to confirm what Stalin's enemies had so long believed?

Why, then, and with what object did Krushchev make his speech?

We believe he delivered it to prove a case of justifiable homicide
- the killing of Stalin.

We believe that he delivered it so that if at any time he and his
accomplices should stand accused of Stalin's murder, he could answer: 'I
have proved to you all what manner of man he was. Had we not the right
to kill him?'

It must be remembered that at the time when Krushchev made the 'secrct'
speech, in February, 1956, the battle for power still raged in the
Kremlin and, although he was gaining ground, his position was not yet
secured. The opposition was still strong. Malenkov, Molotov, Kaganovich,
Shepilov and Bulganin still had some fight left in them. And all of them
knew what had happened to Stalin. Any one of them could have used that
knowledge as a weapon to destroy Krushchev. That is why in his specch
he was at pains to implicate them all. That was the purpose of the little
anecdotes, not only about the opposition but about his supporters as well
- Mikoyan, Voroshilov and Zhukov - in fact, all the members of the old

{p. 132} Politburo. It was imperative to establish that every one
of them had a motive for murdering Stalin.

Let us therefore consider the salient points of the secret speech together
with what we have already written in this light.


WHENEVER POSSIBLE IN THIS CHAPTER we will use Krushchev's own words
together with the evidence previously presented in our endeavour to solve
the mystery of the death of Stalin.

As far back as 1922, after he had suffered his first stroke, Lenin began
worrying about his protege, Stalin. Since becoming General Secretary, Joseph
Vissarionovich had accumulated immeasurable power into his hands, and it
was not at all certain whether he always used that power with the required
care. There were times - and they were becoming more frequent - when Stalin
was not only excessivcly rude, but intolerant and capricious. So, Lenin
thought fit to write a letter to the Tenth Party Congress, which he was
too ill to attend, warning the members about Stalin's negative characteristics.

The Congress thought that Lenin's 'Testament', as they called it, would
prove a sufficient warning to Stalin to mend his ways. Instead of replacing
him by another kinder and more loyal man, as Lenin had suggested, they
allowed him to continue as General Secretary.

But far from mending his manners, Stalin became more rude and more capricious
as the years went by. He did not mellow with age. The negative characteristics
which, in Lenin's time, were only incipient, developed steadily. And during
the last years of his life they acquired an absolutely insufferable character.

Stalin ceased to tolerate colleaguality in leadership and began
to practise brutal violence towards anyone who opposed his capricious and
despotic character or who ran contrary to his

{p. 134} concepts. Anyone who tried to prove his viewpoint was doomed
to removal from the leading executive and to subsequent moral and physical

This despotism displayed itself at the Seventeenth Party Congress and
after, when Stalin ordered no fewer than ninety-eight innocent members
and candidates to be arrested and shot as 'enemies of the people' - a phrase
he himself had originated.

From then on, Stalin, using his unlimited power, did not even trouble
to inform the Central Committee of his decisions. Indeed, plenums of the
Committee were hardly ever called. Not once during all the years of the
patriotic war did a single meeting take place.

After the war the situation became even more complicated. Stalin became
ever more capricious, irritable and brutal; in particular his suspicion
grew. His persecution mania reached unbelievable dimcnsions, so that many
workers were becoming enemies before his very eyes. Worse still, Stalin
separated himself from the Collective even more. Everything was decided
by him alone, without any consideration for anyone or anything.

It is true to say that Stalin was sickly suspicious, and those who worked
with him knew it. He would look at a man and say: 'Why are your eyes so
shifty to-day? Why are you turning so much to-day and avoiding looking
me directly in the eyes?

This sickly suspicion created in him a general distrust even towards
eminent party workers whom he had known for years. Everywhere and in everything
he saw 'enemies', 'twvo-facers' and 'spies'.

Because of his extreme suspicion, Stalin toyed with the absurd and ridiculous
idea that Voroshilov might be an English agent. A tapping device was installed
in his home to listen to what was said there. Voroshilov found himself
in an almost

{p. 135} impossible position. Stalin forbade him to attend the Political
Bureau scssions.

Consider what happencd at the meeting of the Political Bureau in 1946.
It was then that the importance of the Ccntral Committec was reduced by
the creation of various comlllissions - the so-called 'Quintets', 'Sextets',
'Septets' and 'Novenaries.' Stalin proposed these innovations, with the
result that some membcrs of the Political Burcau were kept away from participation
in reaching most important State decisions.

Again, consider what took place just after the Ninetecnth General Congress,
in October, 1952, the first to be convened for thirteen years. Stalin's
proposal concerning the selection of twenty-five persons to the Central
Committee Presidium was aimed at the removal of the old members of the
Political Bureau and the bringing in of less-expcrienced persons so that
these would extol him in all sorts of ways.

Indeed, it can be assumed that this was also designed for the future
annihilation of the old Political Bureau membcrs.

At the first Central Committee plenum after the Nineteenth Congress,
in his talk at the plenum, Stalin characterised Molotov and Mikoyan and
suggested that these old workers were guilty of somc baseless charges.
Indeed, had Stalin remained at the helm for another several months Molotov
and Mikoyan would probably not havc made speeches at thc Twentieth Congrcss.
It is evidcnt that Stalin had plans to finish off the old members of
the Political Bureau.

That, then, was the situation in the autumn of 1952 according to
Krushchev, as he described it in his own words.

We now come to January, 1953, and the 'affair of the doctor-plotters'.
It will be recalled that the woman doctor Timashuk who was probably influenced
by someone, wrote Stalin a letter in which she declared that the doctors
were applying supposedly improper methods of medical treatment.

{p. 136} Having received this letter, Stalin reached an immediate
conclusion that there were doctor-plotters in the Soviet Union. He issued
orders to arrest a group of eminent Soviet medical specialists, some
of who had personally treated Krushchev and others in the Kremlin. More
than that, Stalin issued advice on the conduct of the investigating of
the plot and the methods of interrogation to be used against the doctors.
He instructed that one of them, Professor Vinogradov, was to be put in
chains, and another beaten. He told the then Minister of State Security,
Comrade Ignatiev, curtly: 'If you do not obtain confessions from the doctors
we will shorten you by a head.'

Shortly after the arrest of the doctors, Stalin distributed protocols
of their confessions of guilt to the members of the Politburo, including
Krushchev, and told them: 'You are blind like young kittens; what will
happen without me? The country will perish because you do not know how
to recognise enemles.'

Here, we will pause to ask the question: Does that anecdote ring
true? We do not think that it does. Like Krushchev's others, we
believe it to be a lie. In this instance, its purpose was to draw
a red-herring across the scent by suggesting that Stalin did not suspect
any of the old members of the Politburo of being involved in the 'Doctors'
Plot'. They were merely helpless creatures and because their eyes were
shut, they had no idea there were evil workers in the Party who were planning
to poison the General Secretary.

So far as Stalin was concerned, the 'Doctors' Plot' was not a matter
for jest. The moment he heard about it, he acted immediately, and made
it his personal business to find out the truth. He even threatened to hang
his Minister of State Security if he did not obtain confessions from the
doctors. And it is reasonable to suppose Ignatiev wasted no time in executing
his orders.

{p. 137} Who was the mysterious 'someone' who influenced or ordered
Lidya Tamashuk to write to Stalin.?

It will be recalled that when Krushchev was discussing the Soviet
war films, the theme of whose propaganda, he declared, was praising
Stalin as a military genius, he said: 'Let us recall the film "The
Fall of Berlin". Here Stalin alone acts, he issues orders in the
hall in which there are many empty chairs and only one man approaches
him and reports something - that is Poskrebyshev, his loyal shield-bearer.'
Now, that remark caused laughter in the hall, as we believe Krushchev
intended. He wanted to de-bunk not only the film but Poskrcbyshev; to
turn him into a figure for ridicule, so that those few who knew him
would forget what he had really been like. A sinister, shadowy figure,
never far from his master's side-a grey, ghost of a man, who had disappearcd
like a ghost without trace the day that Stalin died.

We believe the loyal shield-bearer disappeared because he was liquidated
by the very men whom he had unmasked as the instigators of the 'Doctors'

What other reason could there have been for Poskrebyshev's disappearance
except that he knew too much? Nor even Krushchev questions his loyalty
to Stalin, nor since the latter had chosen him as his personal aide-de-camp,
could it possibly be doubted.

As we have already said, it is extremely unlikely that Stalin would
have planned to finish off all the old members of the Politburo unless
they had given him cause. And what better cause could they have
given him than by plotting his murder aided by his own doctors? Can
it be doubted that, having discovered such a plot, Stalin's persecution
mania would not have reached such dimensions that he would attempt to annihilate
the entire Politburo?

He had done it before, when he had ordered those ninety-eight members
and candidates to the Seventeenth Congress to

{p. 138} be shot, and he would do it again - if he remained at the helm

And in January, 1953, there was no reasoning for supposing that Stalin
would not. We have the evidence of Mr. Menon, Doctor Kitchlu and others
to prove that the capricious, irritable, and distrustful old man of seventy-three
was in vigorous health. The members of the Politburo had the evidence of
their own eyes.

Seven weeks elapsed between the announcement of the 'Doctors' Plot'
and that of Stalin's death. Time enough, it may be thought, to mete out
summary justice to the plotters.

Yet Krushchev had stated that Stalin did 'not have time' in which
to bring the case of the Kremlin doctors to an end- 'as he conceived that
end'. But even if Stalin had died a fortnight before March 5th, which
is possible, he would still have had the time. On the evidence of Mr. Menon,
we know that he was alive and well on February 17th, more than five weeks
after the announcement of the exposure of the plot. During that period,
it should be recalled, several prominent people had already died suddenly,
suffered heart attacks, or disappeared into thin air, including Mekhlis,
the Minister of Security, Doctor Frumkin, and General Shetemenko. The latter,
mentioned as one of the proposed 'victims' of the doctor-assassins, was
Chief of the Soviet General Staff. Twelve days before Stalin's death, he
was relieved of his post, and then vanished. During that period, too, countless
others had been arrested.

When Krushchev said that time had saved the doctors' lives, he was
deliberately confusing the issue. His conjecture that Molotov and Mikoyan
might not have addressed the Congress had Stalin lived for 'another several
months' was made with the same intent. He wanted to allay the suspicion
lurking in the minds of many of the delegates that the members of the Politburo
were involved in either the 'Doctors' Plot' or

{p. 139} Stalin's timely demise. His purpose was to justify Stalin's
murder; not to reveal who did it.

In any attempt to solve the mystery of Stalin's death, time must play
an important part. From the moment the doctors were arrested, time was
running short for a great many people. Indeed, nothing could save them
except a miracle - of time.

If the doctors had hatchecd their plot amongst themselves, let
us suppose, to bring about such a miracle by poisoning Stalin, they
would have been liquidated immediately. The very fact that they were not
is proof that Stalin needed time to find out how many were actually implicated.
And the greater the number, the more time he would have needed.

Paradoxically, Krushchev's own words can be used to prove our point.
Stalin did not have time to end the case - 'as he conceived that end.'

Stalin conceived not merely the deaths of a dozen or so Kremlin physicians
who were ostensibly plotting to kill a number of ageing Marshals. He
conceived the umnasking and finishing off of Beria, Krushchev, Mikoyan,
Voroshilov, and the rest of the old members of the Politburo.

But they did not give him time.


AT THIS POINT we must state that on the evidence of Krushchev's speech
we can no longer accept the belief that Stalin died a natural death. We
cannot even accept as true the statement that he suffered a cerebral haemorrhage,
or the theory that his enemies seized upon his illness as a heaven-sent
chance to hasten his end. If such had been the case, Krushchev's speech
would never have been delivered.

But it was delivered. If it is a damning indictment of Stalin, it is
an equally damning indictment of Krushchev and his confederates, for Stalin's
murder. We have said that it was a plea of justifiable homicide. However,
as such we are not concerned with it, for we are not concerned with the
ethics of the case. Although we must confess in our opinion ethics played
no part in the killing of Stalin. In the final analysis, if he had lived,
his assassins would have died. It was their lives or his. That is a succinct
summing up of the case.

Who killed Stalin? The answer can only be that it is improbable
that we shall ever know the identity of his executioner. He must have been
someone who was in the habit of visiting Stalin regularly and therefore
unlikely to arouse his sickly suspicions.

A doctor? In the circumstances, we think not.

A close friend, whom he trusted? Lavrenti Beria, for example? Perhaps.

A genial companion, with whom he might sometimes drink a glass of vodka?
Nitika Krushchev, possibly? Again, perhaps.

Both men aspired to take Stalin's place. And while one

{p. 141} failed where the other succeeded, undoubtedly both were deeply
involved in the murder.

How was Stalin murdered? Again, we shall probably never know.
It may be assumed, however, that the method used was governed by the
fact that the body would be embalmed and placed on exhibition. Therefore,
it is likely that Stalin was poisoned.

To a lesser degree than either Beria or Krushchev, a large number of
others were involved, for the murder of Stalin, carried out with immediacy,
was nevertheless perfectly organised. A trifle too perfectly, perhaps.
In their anxiety to make their victim's death appear natural, we cannot
help but feel that, as is so often the case, the murderers overplayed their
hand. For, as we have said, with their many signatories, wealth of detail,
and frequency, the bulletins did give rise to doubt in cynical minds.

It must be admitted, too, there was something suspicious about the
timing and precision with which Beria's MVD troops surrounded Moscow.
But even more dubious was the alacrity with which Beria was restored
to office as head of the Secret Police.

Indeed, it is time to reconsider Beria's role in the light of the 'secret'

There is no need to stress with what bitterness and savagery Krushchev
attacked Beria's memory. The speech was almost as much an indictment
of the late Minister of State Security as it was of his master the General

It remains to ask why?

Unlike his master's, Beria's name had been publicly blackened before

Why, then, the stream of invective and abuse? Why the recriminations?
Why the use of such phrases as 'Beria who murdered thousands of Communists',
'this rabid enemy of our Party', 'this villain who climbed up the Government

{p. 142} over an untold number of corpses', 'this abject provocateur',
'this vile enemy?'


In his determination that the evil that Beria did will live after him,
we are left with the feeling that Krushchev harbours a great personal hatred
against the dead man. And we wonder why?

It is not impossible that Beria was restored to his former office
in recognition for his part in Stalin's murder, after which he may or may
not have attempted to seize power by surrounding Moscow with his troops.
We are inclined to the theory that this was, in fact, a demonstration of
strength staged to deter the Army from attempting a coup d'etat. However,
there is not the slightest doubt that afterwards - and very soon afterwards
- Beria began to use his immeasurable power for his own ends. The struggle
between him and Krushchev was to the death. At some point in that
struggle - possibly when Krushchev had won the alliance of the Army - realising
he was losing, it may well be that Beria threatened to expose Krushchev
as Stalin's murderer and it would have been to his advantage whether
the allegation were true or not. And for this reason, he was shot.

What evidence can we offer in support of this? The evidence of Krushchev's
own words. The evidence that he considered it necessary to go to
such lengths in reiterating Beria's past crimes when they were well-known
to all the delegates at the Congress. The evidence of Krushchev's insistence
that until the very end Beria was at one and the same time Stalin's faithful
servant and evil genius.

'Why was not Beria unmasked during Stalin's life?' he cries in horror.
And then immediately answers his own question: 'Because he utilised very
skilfully Stalin's weaknesses; feeding him with suspicions, he assisted
Stalin in everything, and acted with his support'.

{p. 143} So, no man dared to lay a finger on Beria until Stalin was

What else did Krushchev say? Only this: 'Beria was unmasked shortly
after Stalin's death. As a result of the particularly detailed legal proccedings
it was established that Beria had committed monstrous crimes, and Beria
was shot'.

More red herrings across the scent. More generalization about time!
However, from this vague and unsatisfying statement it can be gathered
that the lapse of time between Beria's arrest and his trial was intended
to prove that the new Government's methods of justice were different from
those of Stalin. Many months, therefore, were needed for the 'particularly
detailed legal proceedings' in order that Beria's trial, heard in camera,
should be a just one. No 'protocols' of these proceedings were, of course,
supplied to the delegates.

If further evidence should be needed, we would cite the fact that
of all those who were involved in any way as accomplices to the murder,
Beria was the only one to be shot. His fate, as Krushchev no doubt
intended, acted as a deterrent to others who might have attempted to play
his game.

Nevertheless, it is possible that in 1956, Krushchev feared that in
the heat of the struggle for power or in the moment of defeat, one or another
of his opponents would emulate Beria. And so, to safeguard himself and,
at the same time, to implicate his friends and enemies alike in Stalin's
murder, he delivered his 'secret' speech.

He achieved his objective.

A few days after the 20th Congress, on February 29th, 1956, Krushchev
was appointed Chairman of the newly created Bureau of the Central Committee
of the Soviet Communist Party for the Affairs of the Russian Federal Republic.
Thus, his powers were extended far beyond those even of Stalin.

Fifteen months later, at a plenary session of the Central

{p. 144} Committee, it was found that 'the anti-Party group Malenkov-Kaganovich-Molotov
had for the past three to four years run counter to the course of the Party
policy. These comrades had entered upon a path of group struggle against
the leadership of the Party. Having discussed among themselves on an anti-Party
basis, they aimed to change the policy of the Party and to lead the Party
back to those incorrect mcthods of leadership which were condemned by the
20th Party Congrcss'.

The Committee resolved, first, 'to condemn the factional activities
of the anti-Party group of Malenkov-Kaganovich-Molotov, and of Shepilov
who joined them, as incompatible with the Leninist principles of the Party.
Second, to expel these comrades from membership of the Presidium and
from the Central Committee ...

This resolution was passed unanimously by all members of the Central
Committee, with one abstention - in the person of Comrade Molotov.'

Marshal Bulganin has since followed these comrades into the wilderness.

Having branded them all potential murderers, Krushchev could afford
to treat them with magnanimity now that he himself had climbed to the top
of the Government ladder, not over an untold number of corpses, but certainly
over that of Beria and, in all probability, that of Stalin as well. {end
of text}

(3) Ludo Martens, Another view of Stalin

Ludo Martens writes in his online book Another view of Stalin
(Copyright © 1995 John Plaice) at

Stalin's death

A few months before Stalin's death, the entire security system that
protected him was dismantled. Alexandr Proskrebychev,  his personal
secretary, who had assisted him since 1928 with remarkable efficiency,
was fired and placed under house arrest. He had allegedly redirected secret
documents. Lieutenant-Colonel Nikolay Vlasik,  Chief of Stalin's personal
security for the previous 25 years, was arrested on December 16, 1952 and
died several weeks later in prison.

P. Deriabin,  Watchdogs of Terror: Russian Bodyguards from the
Tsars to the Commissars (1984), p. 321; cited in Bland,  op. cit.
, p. 24.

{Bill Bland,  `The ``Doctors' case'' and the death of Stalin' (London:
The Stalin Society, October 1991)}

Major-General Petr Kosynkin,  Vice-Commander of the Kremlin Guard,
responsible for Stalin's security, died of a `heart attack' on February
17, 1953. Deriabin  wrote:

`(This) process of stripping Stalin of all his personal security (was)
a studied and very ably handled business'.

Deriabin,  op. cit. , p. 209; cited in Bland,  op. cit. ,
p. 27.

Only Beria  was capable of preparing such a plot.

On March 1, at 23:00, Stalin's guards found him on the floor in his
room, unconscious. They reached the members of the Politburo by telephone.
Khrushchev  claimed that he also arrived, and that each went back

Deriabin,  op. cit. , p. 300.

No-one called a doctor. Twelve hours after his attack, Stalin received
first aid. He died on March 5. Lewis  and Whitehead  write:

`Some historians see evidence of premeditated murder. Abdurakhman Avtorkhanov 
sees the cause in Stalin's visible preparation of a purge to rival those
of the thirties'.

J. Lewis  and P. Whitehead,  Stalin: A Time for Judgment (London,
1990), p. 279; cited in Bland,  op. cit. , p. 34.

Immediately after Stalin's death, a meeting of the presidium was
convened. Beria proposed that Malenkov be President of the Council of Ministers
and Malenkov proposed that Beria be named Vice-President and Minister of
Internal Affairs and State Security.

Khrushchev,  Khrushchev  Remembers, op. cit. , p. 324. {Nikita
Khrushchev,  Khrushchev  Remembers (London: André
Deutsch, 1971)}

During the following months, Beria  dominated the political scene.
`We were going through a very dangerous period', wrote Khrushchev.

Ibid. , p. 331.

Once installed as head of Security, Beria  had Proskrebychev, 
Stalin's secretary, arrested; then Ryumin, who had led the inquiry into
Zhdanov's suspicious death. Ignatiev, Ryumin's boss, was denounced for
his rôle in the same affair. On April 3, the doctors accused of having
killed Zhdanov were liberated. The Zionist author Wittlin  claimed
that by rehabilitating the Jewish doctors, Beria  wanted to `denigrate
... Stalin's aggressive foreign policy against the West, the United States
and Great Britain primarily'.

Wittlin,  op. cit. , p. 388. {Thaddeus Wittlin,  Commissar:
The Life and Death of Lavrenty Pavlovich Beria
(New York: Macmillan,

Still in April, Beria organized a counter-coup in his native region,
Georgia. Once again he placed his men at the top of the Party and the State.
Dekanozov,  later shot along with Beria, became Minister of State
Security, replacing Rukhadze,  arrested as `enemy of the people'.

Bland,  op. cit. , p. 46.

Fri Aug 25 09:03:42 PDT 1995 {end of text}

(4) Beria vs. Stalin

After Stalin's death, Malenkov became Premier, with Beria (of the Jewish
faction) holding power in the shadows. New evidence on Beria's downfall:

the website of the (pro-Stalin) Progressive Labor Party:

{start} This political weakness was further aggravated by revisionist
tendencies within the leadership of the Party that emerged at the end of
the forties.

To direct the different sectors of the Party and the State, Stalin had
always relied on his closest collaborators. Since 1935, Zhdanov had played
an essential rôle in the Party consolidation work. His death in 1948
left a vacuum. In the beginning of the fifties, Stalin's health took
a dramatic turn for the worse after the overwork incurred during the
war. The problem of Stalin's succession posed itself for the near

It was around this time that two groups of revisionists within the
leadership became visible and started to plot their intrigues, while
preaching fidelity to Stalin. Beria's group and Khrushchev's contituted
two rival revisionist factions that, while secretly undermining Stalin's
work, were waging war with each other.

Since Beria was shot by Khrushchev in 1953, soon after Stalin's death,
it might be supposed that he was an adversary of Khrushchevian revisionism.
This is the position that Bill Bland took in a well documented study of
Stalin's death.

Bill Bland, `The "Doctors' case" and the death of Stalin'
(London: The Stalin Society, October 1991), Report.

However, testimony from diametrically opposite sources concur in their
affirmation that Beria held rightist positions.

For example, the Zionist author Thaddeus Wittlin published a biography
of Beria in the nauseating style of McCarthyism. Here is an example: `the
Dictator of Soviet Russia looked down at his peoples as if he were the
merciless new god of millions of his people'.

Thaddeus Wittlin, Commissar: The Life and Death of Lavrenty Pavlovich
(New York: Macmillan, 1972), p. 354.

Literally. But, presenting the ideas developed by Beria towards 1951,
Wittlin claimed that he wanted to authorize private enterprise in
light industry and `to moderate the collective farm system', as well as
`by returning to the approach of the pre-Stalin era, the NEP'. `Beria
... was against the Stalin policy of Russification of
non-Russian nations and republics'. Beria wanted `Better international
relations with the West' and `also intended to restore relations with

Ibid. , pp. 363--365.

This homage to Beria's `reasonable politics' stands out, coming from
such a sickening anti-Communist pen.

Tokaev, clandestine opponent, claimed that he knew Beria and others
in the thirties, `not of servants, but of enemies of the régime'.

Tokaev, op. cit. , p. 7.

Gardinashvili, one of Beria's close collaborators, had close relations
with Tokaev.

Ibid. , p. 101.

Khrushchev, for whom it would be in his interest to depict Beria as
being close to Stalin, wrote:

`In the last years of Stalin's life Beria used to express his disrespect
for Stalin more and more baldly.'

Nikita Khrushchev, Khrushchev Remembers (London: André
Deutsch, 1971), p. 313.

`Stalin feared that he would be the first person Beria might choose'.

Ibid. , p. 311.

`It seemed sometimes that Stalin was afraid of Beria and would have
been glad to get rid of him but didn't know how to do it.'

Ibid. , p. 250.

We should not forget Molotov's opinion. He and Kaganovich were the only
leaders to remain faithful to their revolutionary past.

`I cannot exclude the possibility that Beria provoked Stalin's death.
I felt it through what he was saying. May Day 1953, on the Tribune of the
Mausoleum, he made such allusions. He was looking for complicity. He said,
"I made him disappear". He tried to implicate me. "I saved
you all".'

Chueva, op. cit. , p. 327.

`I consider Khrushchev as rightwing, but Beria was even more rightwing.
Both were rightwing. And Mikoyan too. But they had different personalities.
Khrushchev was to the right and completely rotten, but Beria was even more
to the right and even more rotten.'

Ibid. , p. 335.

`Without question, Khrushchev was reactionary and succeeded in infiltrating
into the Party. Of course, he believed in no form of communism. I consider
Beria as an enemy. He infiltrated himself into the Party with destructive
goals. Beria was a man without principles.'

Ibid. , p. 323.

During Stalin's last years, Khrushchev and Mikoyan clearly hid their
political ideas to better place themselves after the succession.

Khrushchev's disdain for Stalin shows up clearly in his memoirs:

`In my opinion it was during the war that Stalin started to be quite
right in the head.'

Ibid. , p. 311.

At `the end of 1949', a `sickness ... began to envelop Stalin's mind'.

Ibid. , p. 246.

Enver Hoxha noted Khrushchev's impatience for Stalin to die. In his
memoirs, he noted a discussion that he had had in 1956 with Mikoyan:

`Mikoyan himself told me ... that they, together with Khrushchev and
their associates, had decided to carry out a ``pokushenie'', i.e., to make
an attempt on Stalin's life, but later, as Mikoyan told us, they gave up
this plan.'

Enver Hoxha, With Stalin: Memoirs (Toronto: Norman Bethune Institute,
1980), p. 31.

{end of text}

(5) Stalin's Body Removed From Lenin's Tomb

Jennifer Rosenberg writes at

Stalin's Body Removed From Lenin's Tomb

After his death in 1953, Soviet leader Joseph Stalin's remains were
embalmed and put on display next to Vladimir Lenin. ...

At the Twenty-second Party Congress in October 1961, an old, devoted
Bolshevik woman, Dora Abramovna Lazurkina stood up and said:

{quote} My heart is always full of Lenin. Comrades, I could survive
the most difficult moments only because I carried Lenin in my heart, and
always consulted him on what to do. Yesterday I consulted him. He was standing
there before me as if he were alive, and he said: "It is unpleasant
to be next to Stalin, who did so much harm to the party." {endquote}
{quoted in Robert Payne, The Rise and Fall of Stalin, New York:
Simon and Schuster, 1965, pp. 712-3}

This speech had been pre-planned yet it was still very effective.
Khrushchev followed by reading a decree ordering the removal of Stalin's

{quote} The further retention in the mausoleum of the sarcophagus with
the bier of J. V. Stalin shall be recognized as inappropriate since the
serious violations by Stalin of Lenin's precepts, abuse of power, mass
repressions against honorable Soviet people, and other activities in the
period of the personality cult make it impossible to leave the bier with
his body in the mausoleum of V. I. Lenin.  {endquote} {quoted in 
Payne, op. cit., p. 713}

A few days later, Stalin's body was quietly removed from the mausoleum.
There were no ceremonies and no fanfare. About 300 feet from the mausoleum,
Stalin's body was buried near other minor leaders of the Revolution. Stalin's
body was placed near the Kremlin wall, half-hidden by trees.

A few weeks later, a simple dark granite stone marked the grave with
the very simple, "J. V. STALIN 1879-1953." In 1970, a small bust
was added to the grave.


(6) Nikita Khruschev on "Stalin's Anti-Semitism"
and the proposal for a Jewish Crimea

Khruschev Remembers, translated by Strobe Talbot; with an Introduction,
Commentary and Notes by EDWARD CRANKSHAW (Sphere Books, London, 1971)

{p. 226} Stalin's Anti-Semitism

{Crankshaw's comment} One of the most interesting aspects of this narrative
is the way in which Khrushchev goes out of his way to condemn anti-Semitism.
Guilt feelings must play their part here. There is no evidence to indicate
that Khrushchev himself was ever committed actioely to anti-Semitic policies,
but time and time again he is on record as making disparaging remarks about
Jews and insisting that they should be kept in their place. He may have
been horrified by the pogroms of his childhood, but he did not like Jews,
and as master of the Ukraine, he kept silent about the mass-murdering carried
out by the Nazis (including the massacre at Babi Yar on the outskirts of
Kiev). In accordance with Stalin's policy, which he later made his own,
he refused to admit that Jews had suffered more than non-Jews on Soviet
territory; he must also have connived at Stalin's own postwar deportation
of Jews from the Ukraine into deep Siberta. Everything he has to say about
the fate of ind ividual Jews in this period is true; he might have said
much more. It is interesting to get the story of Mikhoels' murder ofcially
confirmed and to have an illuminating sidelight on the fate of poor Lozovsky.
None of this, incidentally, was mentioned in the Secret Speech. Nor was
the a rest and imprisonment of Molotov's wife. On the other hand, the Secret
Speech contained more information than occurs in this chapter on Stalin's
destruction of whole peoples in the Crimea and the Caucasus (tartars, Chechens,
Ingushes, and so on), as a punishment for "col-

{p. 227} laboration" with the Germans. Khrushchev's own slapdash
attitude toward violence and arbitrary rule comes out in this chapter,
as in the earlier chapters on the great purges. "I'm all for arresting
people' he says, but with the implication that it should be done in the
proper form.

{end Crankshaw's comment}

WHILE we were still pushing the Germans out of the Ukraine, an organization
had been formed called the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee of the
Sovinformbureau [Soviet Bureau of Information]. It was set up for gathering
materials - positive materials, naturally - about our country, about the
activities of our Soviet Army against the common enemy, Hitlerite Germany,
and for the distribution of these materials to the Western press,
principally in America where there is a large, influential circle of
Jews. The committee was composed of Jews who occupied high positions
in the Soviet Union and was headed by Lozovsky, a member of the
Central Committee and former chairman of Profintem [the Trade Union Intemational].
Another member was Mikhoels, the most prominent actor of the Yiddish
theater. Yet another was Molotov's wife, Comrade Zhemchuzhina. I
think this organization was first created at the suggestion of Molotov,
although it may have been Stalin's own idea. The Sovinformbureau and its
Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee were considered indispensable to the interests
of our State, our policies, and our Communist Party.12 {see footnote}

Lozovsky used to get in touch with me whenever I came to Moscow,
and sometimes he would call me on the telephone asking for material to
use as propaganda about the Hitlerite fascists. I gave orders for the preparation
of such material over the signatures of various authors, and it was sent
to America, where it was widely used to publi-

{footnote - Crankshaw's comment} 12. Lozovsky was well known to western
correspondents and respected by them as the soviet official spokesman.
He simply vanished in 1948 and was sadly missed. Soon it was knovn
that he had been shot, along with a number of Jewish writers, after
the sudden disbandment of the Jewish Anti-Fascist committee. Khrushchev's
first reference to the "Crimean Affair" was in an interview with
a delegation of Canadian Communists in 1956. The famous Jewish actor Mikhoels
also vanished at this time. It was soon known, though not admitted,
that he had been shot. He was the brother of one of the Kremlin doctors
falsely accused of poisoning activities and as himself built into the-so-called
plot by the NKVD. Madame Molotova (Zhemchuzhina) had been an important
figure in her own right, at one time head of the State Cosmetic Trust (which
introduced perfumes and lipstick to the Soviet young). Molotov had to stand
by and suffer her arrest and exile without murmuring at the very time when
he was turning his iron front to the West in the early days of the Cold

{end Crankshaw's footnote}

{p. 228} cize the successes of the Red Army and to expose the atrocities
committed by the Germans inthe Ukraine. On the whole, Lozovsky's activities
were very worthwhile. He was an energetic person and sometimes almost annoyingly
persistent. He used virtually to extort material from me, saying, "Give
me more materiall! More! More!" We were busy with the reconstruction
of the economy and didn't have much time for such matters. He wouldn't
let up on me: "You must understand how important it is for us to
show the face of our common enemy to the world, to expose his atrocities,
and to show the process of reconstruction which is taking place in our
cities and villages."

Once the Ukraine had been liberated, a paper was drafted by members
of the Lozovsky committee. It was addressed to Stalin and contained
a proposal that the Crimea be made a Jewish Soviet Republic within
the Soviet Union after the deportation from the Crimea of the Crimean Tartars.
Stalin saw behind this proposal the hand of American Zionists operating
through the Sovinformbureau. The committee members, he declared, were
agents of American Zionism. They were trying to set up a Jewish state in
the Crimea in order to wrest the Crimea away from the Soviet Union and
to establish an outpost of American imperialism on our shores which
would be a direct threat to the security of the Soviet Union. Stalin let
his imagmation run wild in this direction. He was struck with maniacal
vengeance. Lozovsky and Mikhoels were arrested. Soon Zhemchuzhina herself
was arrested. The investigation of the group took a long time, but
in the end almost all of them came to a tragic end. Lozovsky was shot.
Zhemchuzhma was exiled. I thought at first she had been shot, too, because
nothing of what had happened was reported to anyone except Stalin, and
Stalin himself decided whom to execute and whom to spare.

I remember Molotov calling to ask my advice about this whole affair.
Apparently Zbemchuzhina had pulled him into it. Molotov never did agree
with Stalin about the necessity for arresting Zhemchuzhina. When the question
of removing her from the staff of the Central Committee came up at a Central
Committee plenum and everyone else voted aye, Molotov abstained. He didn't
vote nay, but he still abstained. Stalin blew up at this, and the incident
left its imprint on Stalin's attitude toward Molotov. He started kicking
Molotov around viciously. Kaganovich's maliciousness was a particularly
good barometer of Molotov's precarious position. Incited by Stalin, Kaganovich
played the part of a vicious cur who was unleashed to tear limb from limb

{p. 229} member of the Politbureau toward whom he sensed Stalin's coolness,
and Kaganovich was turned loose on Molotov.

I didn't find out that Zhemchuzhina was still alive until after Stalin's
death, when Molotov told me that she was living in exile. We all agreed
she should be freed. Beria released her and solemnly handed her over
to Molotov. Beria used to describe how Molotov came to his office at
the Ministry of Internal Affairs to be reunited with Zhemchuzhina. Molotov
was overjoyed that she was still alive and threw himself into her arms.
Beria expressed his sympathy to Molotov and Zhemchuzhina at the time, but
he made a point of reminding them that she had been freed on his initiative
and he told this story with a touch of irony in his voice.

A question of substance: was it necessary to create a Jewish Union or
autonomous Republic within the Russian Federation or within the Ukraine?
I don't think it was. A Jewish autonomous Region had already been created
which still nominally exists, so it was hardly necessary to set one up
in the Crimea.13 But this question was never discussed in substance. We
had been conditioned to accept Stalin's reasoning, and we gave in
to his absolute authority. He contended that if a Jewish Republic were
created in the Crimea, then Zionism, which is rampant in America, would
gain a foothold in our country. That was all there was to it. He had
made up his mind, and he had people arrested, arbitrarily and without any
regard for legal norms, regardless of the important and positive role which
the accused had played during the war in helping to bring to light the
atrocities committed by the Germans. Theirs had been constructive work,
but now it counted for nothing. They were deprived of their liberty and
in many cases their lives. I consider the whole affair to have been a disgrace.
Stalin could have simply rejected their suggestion and rebuked them. But
no, he had to destroy all those who actively supported the proposal. It
was only by some miracle that Zhemchuzhina stayed alive and got off with
a long term of exile. More typical was the cruel punishment of Mikhoels,
the greatest actor of the Yiddish theater, a man of culture. They killed
him like beasts. They killed him secretly. Then his murderers were rewarded
and tbeir victim was buried with honors. The mind reels at the thought!
It was announced that Mikhoels had fallen in

{footnote - Crankshaw's comment} 13. This refers to the Autonomous Republic
of sirobidzhan in Siberia, designated as a national home for soviet Jews
It never came to much. Understandably the Jews took to it orly in small

{end Crankshaw's footnote}

{p. 230} front of a truck. Actually he was thrown in front of a truck.
This was done very cleverly and efficiently. And who did it? Stalin did
it, or at least it was done on his instructions. After Stalin's death,
when we opened the archives of the Ministry of State Security and interrogated
Beria's men, we found out that they had planned to murder Litvinov [Molotov's
predecessor as foreign minister] by a smmilar method. Litvinov was to have
been ambushed and killed on the road while he was traveling from Moscow
to his dacha. 14

Later, a group of Jews at the Stalin Automobile Factory were put on
trial. In this case, too, Stalin was looking for schemes of American imperialism
operating through Zionists. It was all pure nonsense, of course. But this
was the sort of thing that happened as a result of Stalin's arbitrary rule
and the absolute absence of any restraints on his authority.

It still seems inconceivable to me that this kind of thing happened
in our time. I'm all for arresting people, but the accused should be given
a fair trial and exiled or imprisoned only if an honest approach to their
cases proves that they really are criminal or political offenders. A prosecution
and a trial should proceed according to the norms of the law. Trials should
be conducted in the open so there will be no doubt in anyone's mind that
the accused actually are guilty. That way no one will come to the defense
of people who have been punished, and public opinion will genuinely support
the punitive agencies. In our day we had people lifting up their voices
in court, vouching for the truth of accusations, beating their breasts,
and swearing that the accused were enemies of the people - all without
any real knowledge about what had happened. A witness would endorse the
verdict and raise his hand, voting for the elimination of the accused without
really knowing about the facts of the alleged crime, much less the role
of the alleged criminal. These were not real trials anyway. They were closed
courts in the hands of troikas. And who made up the troikas? Three men
who arrested, prosecuted, and judged the accused all by themselves. Most
of the people who lost their heads in Stalin's time were tried by this
kind of court. ...

{footnote - Crankshaw's comment} 14. M. M. Litvinov, Soviet foreign
minister, was replaced by Molotov after tho failure of his "collective
security" drive in 1939. The story of his planned assassination is
new. In the end he died a natural death.

{end Crankshaw's footnote}



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