Leonid Khrushchev

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Leonid Khrushchev
Born Leonid Nikitovich Khrushchev
(1917-11-10)10 November 1917
Died 11 March 1943(1943-03-11) (aged 25)
Near Zhizdra, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union
Resting place Novodevichy Cemetery
Nationality Russian
Alma mater Zhukovsky Air Force Engineering Academy
Occupation Fighter pilot
Spouse(s) Liuba Sizykh
Partner(s) Esther Naumovna Etinger
Children 2
Awards Order of the Red Banner

Leonid Nikitovich Khrushchev (10 November 1917[1] - 11 March 1943) was the son of Nikita Khrushchev, former leader of the Soviet Union, and served as a fighter pilot in the Soviet Air Forces. He was supposedly shot down and killed in 1943, although the exact circumstances of his death remain mysterious.

Early life[edit]

Leonid Khrushchev was born to Nikita Khrushchev and his first wife, Yefrosinia Pisareva,[2] he graduated from high school and afterwards went to work in a factory. During high school, he received two reprimands from Komsomol (the youth division of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union): one for drunkenness and lack of discipline, the other for failure to pay for membership fees.[1]

Air force career[edit]

In 1935, Leonid Khrushchev enrolled in the Balashov Pilot School of the Civil Air Fleet, graduating in 1937; in 1938, he returned to work as a flight instructor. In 1940 he joined the Soviet Air Force as a fighter pilot.[1]

During World War II, Khrushchev was part of the 134th Bomber Aviation Regiment, 46th Air Division, stationed in the Andreapol, Kalinin Oblast. He saw action in the Winter War against Finland, in which he completed over thirty combat missions and bombed the Mannerheim Line; after the war was finished on 13 March 1940, he volunteered to stay at the front. During the summer of 1941, he completed twelve combat missions and was presented with the Order of the Red Banner.[1]

Death and controversy[edit]

On 11 March 1943, Khrushchev's plane, a YaK-7B fighter,[3] was shot down, with Khrushchev presumably being killed.

The circumstances of Khrushchev's death remain obscure and controversial,[4] as none of his fellow fliers stated that they witnessed him being shot down, nor was his plane or body found at the time, as a result, there have been several theories on his death and loyalties.

In one scenario, Khrushchev survives the crash and collaborates with the Germans, as a result, when he was captured, Stalin ordered him to be shot despite Nikita Khrushchev pleading for his life,[4] this allegedly being part of the reason Khrushchev later denounced Stalin in the Secret Speech.[4][5] According to Leonid Khrushchev's granddaughter, this scenario was, and still is, propagated by people who wish to discredit Khrushchev's father for his denunciation of Stalin. [6] While Soviet files offer no supporting evidence, some historians allege that Leonid Khrushchev's file was tampered with after the war;[7] in later years, Khrushchev's wingmate, V. Zamorina,[1] stated that she saw his plane disintegrate but did not report it, most likely to avoid the possibility of being seen as complicit in the death of the son of a Politburo member.[8]

Another theory goes even further to say that Khrushchev was not shot down at all, but instead went directly to a German aerodrome, it was rumored that he left the front intentionally to avoid punishment for a row and accidental murder.[3]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Leonid Nikitovich Khrushchev". Nov 7, 2012. Retrieved 2013-05-16. 
  2. ^ Taubman 2003, pp. 38–40.
  3. ^ a b "Last Combat of Soviet Leader Khrushchev's Son". Pravda. 2003-08-04. Retrieved 2013-05-16. 
  4. ^ a b c Birch 2008.
  5. ^ Taubman 2003, pp. 157–58.
  6. ^ Nina Khrushcheva (2014) "The Lost Khrushchev: A Journey into the Gulag of the Russian Mind", Tate Publishing.
  7. ^ Tompson 1995, p. 82.
  8. ^ Taubman 2003, p. 158.