De-Stalinization consisted of a series of political reforms in the Soviet Union after the death of long-time leader Joseph Stalin in 1953, the ascension of Nikita Khrushchev to power. The reforms consisted of changing or removing key institutions that helped Stalin hold power: the cult of personality that surrounded him, the Stalinist political system, the Gulag labour-camp system, all of, created and dominated by him. Stalin was succeeded by a collective leadership after his death in March 1953, consisting of Georgi Malenkov, Premier of the Soviet Union; the term "de-Stalinization" is one which gained currency in both Russia and the Western world following the collapse of the Soviet Union, was never used during the Khrushchev era. However, de-Stalinization efforts were set forth at this time by Nikita Khrushchev and the Government of the Soviet Union under the guise of the "overcoming/exposure of the cult of personality", with a heavy criticism of Joseph Stalin's "era of the cult of personality".
However, prior to Khrushchev's "Secret Speech" to the 20th Party Congress, no direct association between Stalin as a person and "the cult of personality" was made by Khrushchev or others within the party, although archival documents show that strong criticism of Stalin and his ideology featured in private discussions by Khruschchev at the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet. There were dangers in denouncing Stalin as he was placed on a pedestal both at home and among communists abroad. In the years 1953–1955, a period of "silent de-Stalinization" took place, as the revision of Stalin's policies was done in secret, with no explanation; this period saw a number of non-publicised political rehabilitations, the release of "Article 58ers". However, due to the huge influx of prisoners returning from the camps, this could not continue. In December 1955 Khrushchev proposed a commission to be set up in order to investigate Stalin's activities on behalf of the Presidium. De-Stalinization meant an end to the role of large-scale forced labour in the economy.
The process of freeing Gulag prisoners was started by Lavrentiy Beria. He was soon removed from power, arrested on 26 June 1953, executed on 24 December 1953. Nikita Khrushchev emerged as the most powerful Soviet politician. While de-Stalinization had been underway since Stalin's death, the watershed event was Khrushchev's speech entitled "On the Cult of Personality and Its Consequences", concerning Stalin. On 25 February 1956, he spoke to a closed session of the 20th Party Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, delivering an address laying out some of Stalin's crimes and the "conditions of insecurity and desperation" created by Stalin. Khrushchev shocked his listeners by denouncing Stalin's dictatorial rule and his cult of personality as inconsistent with communist and Party ideology. Among other points, he condemned the treatment of the Old Bolsheviks, people who had supported communism before the revolution, many of whom Stalin had executed as traitors. Khrushchev attacked the crimes committed by associates of Beria.
One reason given for Khrushchev's speech was his moral conscience. This, the Communists believed, would prevent a fatal loss of self-belief and restore unity within the Party. Martin McCauley argues that Khrushchev's purpose was to "liberate Party officials from the fear of repression". Khrushchev argued that if the Party were to be an efficient mechanism, stripped from the brutal abuse of power by any individual, it could transform the Soviet Union as well as the entire world. However, others have suggested that the speech was made in order to deflect blame from the Communist Party or the principles of Marxism–Leninism and place the blame squarely on Stalin's shoulders, thus preventing a more radical debate. However, the publication of this speech caused many party members to resign in protest, both abroad and within the Soviet Union. By attacking Stalin, McCauley argues, he was undermining the credibility of Molotov, Malenkov and other political opponents, within "Stalin's inner circle" during the 1930s more than he had been.
If they did not "come over to Khrushchev", they "risk being banished with Stalin" and associated with his dictatorial control. Khrushchev attempted to make the Gulag labour system less harsh, by allowing prisoners to post letters home to their families, by allowing family members to mail clothes to prisoners, not allowed under Stalin; when Stalin died, the Gulag was "radically reduced in size". On 25 October 1956, a resolution of the CPSU declared that the existence of the Gulag labour system was "inexpedient"; the Gulag institution was closed by the MVD order No 020 of 25 January 1960. Khrushchev renamed or reverted the names of many places bearing Stalin's name, including cities, territories and other facilities; the State Anthem of the Soviet Union was purged of references to Stalin. The Stalin-centric and World War II-era lines in the lyrics were excised when an instrumental version replaced it; the Joseph Stalin Palace of Culture and Science in Warsaw, Poland was renamed in 19
Economy of the Soviet Union
The economy of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was based on a system of state ownership of the means of production, collective farming, industrial manufacturing and centralized administrative planning. The economy was characterised by state control of investment, public ownership of industrial assets, macroeconomic stability, negligible unemployment and high job security. Beginning in 1928, the course of the Soviet Union's economy was guided by a series of five-year plans. By the 1950s, the Soviet Union had evolved from a agrarian society into a major industrial power, its transformative capacity—what the White House National Security Council of the United States described as a "proven ability to carry backward countries speedily through the crisis of modernization and industrialization"—meant communism appealed to the intellectuals of developing countries in Asia. Impressive growth rates during the first three five-year plans are notable given that this period is nearly congruent with the Great Depression.
During this period, the Soviet Union saw rapid industrial growth while other regions were suffering from crisis. The impoverished base upon which the five-year plans sought to build meant that at the commencement of Operation Barbarossa the country was still poor. A major strength of the Soviet economy was its enormous supply of oil and gas, which became much more valuable as exports after the world price of oil skyrocketed in the 1970s; as Daniel Yergin notes, the Soviet economy in its final decades was "heavily dependent on vast natural resources–oil and gas in particular". World oil prices collapsed in 1986. After Mikhail Gorbachev came to power in 1985, he began a process of economic liberalization by dismantling the command economy and moving towards a mixed economy. At its dissolution at the end of 1991, the Soviet Union begat a Russian Federation with a growing pile of $66 billion in external debt and with a few billion dollars in net gold and foreign exchange reserves; the complex demands of the modern economy somewhat constrained the central planners.
Corruption and data fiddling became common practice among the bureaucracy by reporting fulfilled targets and quotas, thus entrenching the crisis. From the Stalin-era to the early Brezhnev-era, the Soviet economy grew much slower than Japan and faster than the United States. GDP levels in 1950 were 161 in Japan and 1,456 in the United States. By 1965, the corresponding values were 1,011, 587 and 2,607; the Soviet Union maintained itself as the second largest economy in both nominal and purchasing power parity values for much of the Cold War until 1988, when Japan's economy exceeded $3 trillion in nominal value. The Soviet Union's small consumer sector accounted for just under 60% of the country's GDP in 1990 while the industrial and agricultural sectors contributed 22% and 20% in 1991. Agriculture was the predominant occupation in the Soviet Union before the massive industrialization under Joseph Stalin; the service sector was of low importance in the Soviet Union, with the majority of the labor force employed in the industrial sector.
The labor force totaled 152.3 million people. Major industrial products included petroleum, motor vehicles, telecommunications, electronics, food processing, lumber and defense industry. Though its GDP crossed $1 trillion in the 1970s and $2 trillion in the 1980s, the effects of central planning were progressively distorted due to the rapid growth of the second economy in the Soviet Union. Based on a system of state ownership, the Soviet economy was managed through Gosplan and the Gossnab. Beginning in 1928, the economy was directed by a series of five-year plans, with a brief attempt at seven-year planning. For every enterprise, planning ministries defined the mix of economic inputs, a schedule for completion, all wholesale prices and all retail prices; the planning process was based around material balances—balancing economic inputs with planned output targets for the planning period. From 1930 until the late 1950s, the range of mathematics used to assist economic decision-making was, for ideological reasons restricted.
On the whole, the plans were overoptimistic, plagued by falsified reporting. The industry was long concentrated after 1928 on the production of capital goods through metallurgy, machine manufacture, chemical industry. In Soviet terminology, goods were known as capital; this emphasis was based on the perceived necessity for fast industrialization and modernization of the Soviet Union. After the death of Joseph Stalin in 1953, consumer goods received somewhat more emphasis due to efforts of Malenkov. However, when Nikita Khrushchev consolidated his power by sacking Georgy Malenkov, one of the accusations against Malenkov was that he permitted "theoretically incorrect and politically harmful opposition to the rate of development of heavy industry in favor of the rate of development of light and food industry". Since 1955, the priorities were again given to capital goods, expressed in the decisions of the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in 1956. Economist Naum Jasny says that while many of the official statistics were reported: The fact is that the most important official general indices of economic development – those of national income, industrial output, real incomes of wage-e
The Kremlin Presidium denominated Building 14, was an edifice within the Moscow Kremlin in Russia. Constructed in 1934, until 2011 it housed, the Supreme Soviet, i. e. the supreme legislative body of the Soviet Union until its dissolution in 1991, second, the offices of the Presidential Administration of Russia. It was demolished in 2016; the Kremlin Presidium was located in the northern part of the Kremlin, adjacent to the Kremlin Senate and forming one side of Ivanovskaya Square. The edifice of 4 storeys had 3 wings opening toward the Senate, which a central building which faced Taynitskaya Garden to the south connected; the southern facade had an Ionic colonnade and a gabled roof in the center, reflecting the Neoclassical style of the adjacent Senate Building. However, the halls of the wings were less conspicuous; the building had 3 floors and was painted in the same yellow color as many of the other administrative buildings in the Moscow Kremlin. The Presidium was on the site of the former Chudov Monastery which Metropolitan Alexius of Moscow founded in 1365, Ascension Convent, Lesser Nicholas Palace.
These were among the historic edifices in the Kremlin that Joseph Stalin ordered demolished as part of the state atheism campaign, pursuant to which religious structures throughout Russia were razed. Ivan Rerberg, a prominent architect of Moscow who had designed the Kiyevsky Rail Terminal, was assigned to design a new administrative building for the Soviet government, its construction began immediately; the new edifice was completed two years after Rerberg's death. It was not named, it hosted the Red Commanders School, a military academy for Red Army leaders; the School was relocated in 1935, from 1938 the building housed the offices of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet, whose head was the de jure head of state of the Soviet Union. From 1958-61, part of the building was converted into the 1,200-seat Kremlin Theatre. However, it proved to be an awkward venue, its functions were transferred to the newly built State Kremlin Palace. In 2001 the Presidium was slated for repair. After the relocation of the Presidential Administration to the Staraya Ploschad in 2011, important renovations began that were planned to be completed by 2015.
Despite several years of renovation work, criticized as an imprudent expenditure of public funds, alternative proposals were made. It was decided to demolish the building entirely. In 2014 President Vladimir Putin proposed the restoration of the former Chudov Monastery, Ascension Convent, Lesser Nicholas Palace; this proposal, if approved, would radically change the plan of the Kremlin and restore the historical vista of Ivanovskaya Square. At the same time experts doubt the possibility of such an authentic reconstruction. Meanwhile a plan to build a new park on the site was announced. In April 2016 the Presidium was demolished. A little earlier the closed public entrance through Spasskaya Tower was opened to allow direct passage between Red Square and Alexander Garden. Klein, Mina; the Kremlin: Citadel of History. MacMillan Publishing Company. ISBN 0-02-750830-7 Tropkin, Alexander; the Moscow Kremlin: History of Russia's Unique Monument. Publishing House "Russkaya Zhizn". ASIN: B0010XM7BQ Official webpage
Premier of the Soviet Union
The Premier of the Soviet Union was the head of government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Twelve individuals became Premier during the time span of the office. Two of the twelve Premiers died in office of natural causes, three resigned and three had the offices of party secretary and Premier simultaneously; the first Premier was Lenin, inaugurated during 1922 after the Treaty on the Creation of the Soviet Union. Ivan Silayev spent the briefest time in office at 126 days during 1991. At more than fourteen years, Kosygin spent the longest time in office and became the only premier to serve in more than two government cabinets, he died soon after his resignation during 1980. The Council of People's Commissars was established on 8 November 1917 by the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic Government. Article 38 of the 1924 Soviet Constitution stated that the Council's powers and duties were given to it by the Central Executive Committee which supervised the Council's work and legislative acts.
The Council of People's Commissars published decrees and decisions that were binding throughout the USSR. During 1946, the Council of People's Commissars was transformed into the Council of Ministers at both all-Union and Union Republic levels. After the ousting of Khrushchev in 1964, a plenum of the Party's Central Committee forbade any single person to hold the two most powerful jobs in the country and Kosygin was placed in charge of economic administration in his role as Premier of the Council of Ministers of the USSR. However, Kosygin's prestige was weakened when he proposed the economic reform of 1965. Under the 1977 Soviet Constitution, the Premier of the Council of Ministers was the head of government of the USSR; the Premier was the chief of the executive branch and head of the Soviet government as a whole, the premiership was the most powerful governmental office in the USSR by influence and recognition until the establishment of the presidency during 1990. The Premier was responsible and accountable to the Supreme Soviet and during the period between sessions of the Supreme Soviet he was accountable to the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet.
The Premier was tasked with resolving all state administrative duties within the jurisdiction of the USSR to the degree which were not the responsibility of the Supreme Soviet or the Presidium. The Premier managed the national economy, formulated the five-year plans and ensured socio-cultural development; when Nikolai Ryzhkov was replaced as premier by Valentin Pavlov, the Council of Ministers was renamed the Cabinet of Ministers. The premier's title was changed to Prime Minister of the Soviet Union, though most non-Soviet sources had referred to the job as "Premier" or "Prime Minister" for some time before then. After the failed August coup of 1991 and the revelation that the majority of the cabinet members endorsed the coup, the Cabinet of Ministers was dissolved and replaced by the Committee on the Operational Management of the Soviet economy during 1991; the Operational Management Committee was renamed the Inter-Republican Economic Committee of the USSR and it was replaced by the Interstate Economic Committee.
The IEC was known as the Economic Community. Deputy Premier of the Soviet Union First Deputy Premier of the Soviet Union List of heads of state of the Soviet Union List of leaders of the Soviet Union
Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union
The Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union was the supreme decision-making body of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. Its meetings served as convention of all their predecessors. Between the congresses the party was ruled by the Central Committee. Over the course of the party's history, the name was changed in accordance with the current name of the party at the time; the frequency of party congresses varied with the meetings being annual events in the 1920s while no congress was held at all between 1939 and 1952. After the death of Joseph Stalin, the congresses were held every five years. Organization of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union Information on congresses, number of delegates, number of people elected to CCs, party membership, the individual who presented the Political Report and information on when the congress was convened can be found in these sources: "Численный состав КПСС". Sovtime.ru. Retrieved 7 January 2017. Articles and journals
Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union
The Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union was the executive leadership of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, acting between sessions of Congress. According to own party statutes, the committee directed governmental activities, its members were elected by the Party Congress. During Vladimir Lenin's leadership of the Communist Party, the Central Committee functioned as the highest party authority between Congresses. However, the 8th Party Congress established the Political Bureau to respond to questions needing immediate responses; some delegates objected to the establishment of the Politburo, in response, the Politburo became responsible to the Central Committee, Central Committee members could participate in Politburo sessions with a consultative voice, but could not vote unless they were members. Following Lenin's death in January 1924, Joseph Stalin increased his power in the Communist Party through the office of General Secretary of the Central Committee, the leading Secretary of the Secretariat.
With Stalin's takeover, the role of the Central Committee was eclipsed by the Politburo, which consisted of a small clique of loyal Stalinists. By the time of Stalin's death in 1953, the Central Committee had become a symbolic organ, responsible to the Politburo, not the other way around; the death of Stalin revitalised the Central Committee, it became an important institution during the power struggle to succeed Stalin. Following Nikita Khrushchev's accession to power, the Central Committee still played a leading role. In 1964 the Central Committee ousted Khrushchev from power and elected Leonid Brezhnev as First Secretary; the Central Committee was an important organ in the beginning of Brezhnev's rule, but lost effective power to the Politburo. From on, until the era of Mikhail Gorbachev, the Central Committee played a minor role in the running of the party and state – the Politburo operated as the highest political organ in the Soviet Union. At the founding congress of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party Vladimir Lenin was able to gain enough support for the establishment of an all-powerful central organ at the next congress.
This central organ was to become the Central Committee, it had the rights to decide all party issues, with the exception of local ones. The group which supported the establishment of a Central Committee at the 2nd Congress called themselves the Bolsheviks, the losers were given the name Mensheviks by their own leader, Julius Martov; the Central Committee would contain three-members, would supervise the editorial board of Iskra, the party newspaper. The first members of the Central Committee were Gleb Krzhizhanovsky, Friedrich Lengnik and Vladimir Noskov. Throughout its history, the party and the Central Committee were riven by factional infighting and repression by government authorities. Lenin was able to persuade the Central Committee, after a long and heated discussion, to initiate the October Revolution; the majority of the members had been skeptical of initiating the revolution so early, it was Lenin, able to persuade them. The motion to carry out a revolution in October 1917 was passed with 10 in favour, two against by the Central Committee.
The Central Committee, according to Lenin, was to be the supreme authority of the party. Leon Trotsky criticised this view, stating "our rules represent'organisational nonconfidence' of the party toward its parts, that is, supervision over all local, district and other organisations... the organisation of the party takes place of the party itself. For example, the Central Committee voted for or against signing a peace treaty with the Germans between 1917 and 1918 during World War I; the result of the vote was the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk. During the heated debates in the Central Committee about a possible peace with the Germans, Lenin did not have a majority. Only when Lenin sought a coalition with Trotsky and others, were negotiations with the Germans voted through with a simple majority. Criticism of other officials was allowed during these meetings, for instance, Karl Radek said to Lenin, "If there were five hundred courageous men in Petrograd, we would put you in prison." The decision to negotiate peace with the Germans was only reached when Lenin threatened to resign, which in turn led to a temporary coalition between Lenin's supporters and those of Trotsky and others.
No sanctions were invoked on the opposition in the Central Committee following the decision. The system had many faults, opposition to Lenin and what many saw as his excessive centralisation policies came to the leadership's attention during the 8th Party Congress and the 9th Party Congress. At the 9th Party Congress the Democratic Centralists, an opposition faction within the party, accused Lenin and his associates, of creating a Central Committee in which a "small handful of party oligarchs... was banning those who hold deviant views." Several delegates to the Congress were quite specific in the criticism, one of them accusing Lenin and his associate
Secretariat of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union
The Secretariat of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union referred to as the Secretariat of the CPSU Central Committee, had responsibility for the central administration of the party as opposed to drafting government policy. The members of the Secretariat were elected by the Communist Party's Central Committee, although in all but the first years of its existence the elections were a formality since decisions were made by the senior leadership before the voting; the General Secretary of the CPSU, a Politburo member, was the leader of the Secretariat and of the Party. Dual membership in the Secretariat and the Politburo was in practice reserved for two or three senior members of the Soviet leadership, in the post- Stalin era was a stepping-stone to ultimate power; the last five Soviet leaders were all senior Secretaries before becoming First or General Secretaries. Additionally, Georgy Malenkov was reckoned as the leader of the Party for a week after Stalin's death by virtue of being the top member of the Secretariat.
The Central Committee established the Secretariat on 6 August 1917. Following the October Revolution of November 1917, Sverdlov and Stasova in effect handled the work of the Secretariat as the other members of the body assumed other duties. At the time, the Secretariat was responsible for technical issues such as coordination of the activities of regional Party organizations and handling routine administrative affairs of the Party, its staff increased from just 30 in 1919 to 600 in 1921 and to 767 by 1925. By 1922 the body had transformed from a technical committee to become one of the most important components of the Party, from that point on it was responsible for day-to-day operations of the Communist Party. In 1922, the position of General Secretary was created, the General Secretary became the head of the Secretariat and, in the years following Lenin's death in 1924, became the most important figure in the Party and in the Soviet Union. See also: Organization of the Communist Party of the USSR