Saturday, January 27, 2001

Khrushchev on Beria

11 May 03

My old Giovanni,

following our conversation of yesterday and
for the interest you have on this subject for
your research, I confirm to you what Gianni Agnelli
told me returning for his first encounter with
Khrushchev in the Soviet Union (for the Fiat factory
in Togliatti as far as I remember) and the latter
took him for a visit of the Kremlin.
This is where the anecdote he told me comes in:
"Khrushchev made me visit the Kremlin room where
the Politburo met. We were alone, the two of us,
the guards stayed out the door, not stepping in.
Khrushchev went to an armchair around the big
conference table. An armchair like the others!
He stood behind it and with the mischievous smile
of a kid who did a prank, he tightened his hands together
as if he was strangling someone, telling Gianni:
"This is where we strangled Beria."
I am relating you this absolutely truthful story - because
as we talked last night, we found out Gianni made us
the same confidence separately.
My recall of that conversation is as clear as yours.

Very affectionately yours,

Benno Graziani

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