Posted 15 февраля 2021,, 07:16

Published 15 февраля 2021,, 07:16

Modified 24 декабря 2022,, 22:38

Updated 24 декабря 2022,, 22:38

How Khrushchev denounced Stalin: the legendary XX Congress of the CPSU took place 65 years ago

How Khrushchev denounced Stalin: the legendary XX Congress of the CPSU took place 65 years ago

15 февраля 2021, 07:16
65 years ago, on February 14, 1956, the XX Congress of the CPSU started in Moscow.

Until the last moment, no one, not even the members of the Presidium of the Central Committee, knew that Khrushchev's report “On the cult of the individual and its consequences”, which was not provided for by the official program, would be read aloud there.

Sergey Baimukhametov

The report was delivered after the congress program had been exhausted - on an additional day on February 25, at a closed session.

Imagine 1956, February, the Grand Kremlin Palace, the meeting room of the Supreme Soviet of the RSFSR, filled with delegates. In the majority - the party-Soviet nomenklatura, slightly diluted by the "working intelligentsia", "workers and collective farmers, leaders of production". All - believers in the dogmas of Stalinism.

Suddenly, words began to fall into this mass from the rostrum of the party (?!) Congress, which were not only and not so much unheard of as they were impossible in that world, unimaginable. How could this happen? Nobody knew what had been decided and had not been fully decided at secret meetings of the Presidium of the Central Committee of the CPSU before the start of the congress and already during the congress, what kind of struggle the first secretary of the Central Committee, N.S. Khrushchev and his supporters, when everything hung, hesitated in the balance.

"This is how the report at the XX Congress of the CPSU was born"

On December 31, 1955, the Presidium of the Central Committee of the CPSU created a Commission to Investigate Mass Repressions, consisting of: Chairman - Secretary of the Central Committee of the CPSU Petr Pospelov, members - Secretary of the Central Committee of the CPSU Averky Aristov, Chairman of the AUCCTU Nikolai Shvernik, Acting Chairman of the Party Control Committee under the Central Committee of the CPSU Pavel Komarov.

On February 9, 1956, 5 days before the opening of the XX Congress, a meeting of the Presidium of the Central Committee of the CPSU was held, at which Pyotr Pospelov announced the results of the commission's work. The participants in the meeting basically agreed that at the congress “we must show courage, tell the truth ... If not, then we will show dishonesty towards the congress ...” But with reservations. Molotov : “But at the same time say not only this ... 30 years we lived under the leadership of Stalin - we carried out industrialization. After Stalin they came out as a great party. " Kaganovich . “To hear the report ... But so as not to unleash the elements. To present the editorial office of the report politically, so that the 30-year period does not lubricate, to approach in cold blood. " Voroshilov: "You need to be careful...".

The transcript reads: “Submit to the Plenum of the Central Committee a proposal that the Presidium of the Central Committee considers it necessary to make a report on the personality cult at a closed session of the Congress. To approve N. Khrushchev as the rapporteur".

On February 13, the day before the opening of the congress, the Plenum of the Central Committee was held, which approved the decision of the Presidium.

So everything is clear?

But no. Apparently, already during the congress, a secret struggle began at the top. Up to the secret cancellation of the decision of the Presidium and the Plenum? Here is the testimony of the secretary of the Central Committee Dmitry Shepilov:

“Khrushchev made a [report] report. I, too, had already stepped forward and was sitting near the column. After Khrushchev's report, a debate unfolded. At that moment Khrushchev came up behind me and asked me to leave the hall with him for a minute. We went to the lobby, where the delegates usually had a snack, and Khrushchev told me something like the following: “I tried to talk with these bourbons (it was clear to me who he had in mind) in order to speak at the congress with criticism of Stalin, but they did not which one ... In general, I want to speak on this issue..."

So, the original decision of the Presidium of the Central Committee and the Plenum of the Central Committee of February 13 was then secretly canceled?

Now I will quote from Khrushchev's memoirs:

“The congress began… The congress went well… However, I was not satisfied. I was tormented by the thought: “When the congress ends, a resolution will be adopted, and all this is formal. What's next? Hundreds of thousands of innocently shot people will remain on our conscience ... Pospelov's commission note drilled my brain. Finally, I gathered my strength and during one of the breaks, when only its members were in the room of the Presidium of the Central Committee, I posed the question: “Comrades, what about Pospelov's note? What about past shootings and arrests? Will the congress end and we disperse without saying our word?"...

As soon as I finished speaking, everyone immediately jumped at me. Especially Voroshilov: “What are you? How can this be? Is it possible to tell all this to the Congress? How will this affect the authority of our party, our country? You can't keep this a secret. And then we will be presented with a claim. What can we say about our personal role?", - Kaganovich objected very ardently, and also from the same position. These were not positions of deep partisanship, but selfish...

I told them: “If we consider our party as a party based on democratic centralism, then we, its leaders, had no right not to know... I personally am ready, as a member of the Central Committee of the party from its 17th Congress and as a member of the Politburo from its 18th Congress, to bear our share responsibility if the party finds it necessary to bring to justice those who were in the leadership at the time of Stalin, when arbitrariness was allowed.

Again they did not agree with me. Voroshilov and Molotov reacted especially loudly. Voroshilov argued that this should not be done at all. "Well, who asks us?" he repeated. Again I: “Were there any crimes? We ourselves, without waiting for others, should say that they were. When they begin to ask about us, then there will already be a trial, and we are the accused at it. I do not want this and I will not take on such a responsibility".

But there was no agreement, and I saw that it would not be possible to get the right decision from the members of the Presidium of the Central Committee... Then I put forward the following proposal: “During the congress, the internal discipline that requires unity of leadership among the members of the Central Committee and the members of the Presidium of the Central Committee is no longer valid, for congress in importance... Now every member of the Presidium of the Central Committee and member of the Central Committee has the right to speak at the congress and state his point of view, even if it does not coincide with the point of view of the report”.

I did not say that I would come forward with a report on the commission's note. But, apparently, those who objected understood that I could speak and state my point of view regarding the arrests and executions…

Someone took the initiative: “Since the question is put this way, it’s probably better to make another report”. Here everyone reluctantly agreed what would have to be done. I told them: “Even for people who have committed crimes, once in their life there comes a moment when they can confess, and this will bring them, if not justification, then leniency. Even if we consider the issue from this position... then such a report can be made only now, at the XX Congress. It will be too late at the XXI Congress if we manage to live up to that time at all and they will not demand an answer from us earlier".

Then the question arose, who should give the report. I suggested that it was Pospelov ... Others (I do not remember who personally) began to object and suggested that I also do this report. It was uncomfortable for me: after all, I didn’t say a word about this in the report, and then I’m also making a second report? And I refused. But they objected to me: “If now it is not you who speaks, but Pospelov, also as one of the secretaries of the Central Committee, then the question will arise: why did Khrushchev not say anything in his report, while Pospelov spoke on such an important issue in the debate? Khrushchev could not fail to know his notes or disregard the importance of the question. So there is a disagreement in the leadership on this issue? And Pospelov came out only with his own opinion?". This argument overpowered, and I agreed... This is how the report was born at the XX Congress of the CPSU on the abuse of Stalin".

The agenda of the XX Congress of the meeting on February 25 is not. According to the official agenda, the congress ended on February 24.

So, the changes were urgently introduced practically during the congress?

Shock. "The noise of indignation"

So, on February 25, Khrushchev made a speech at the congress "On the personality cult and its consequences". I quote from the transcript:

“During this period (1935-1937-1938) the practice of mass repressions developed... Stalin introduced the concept of“ enemy of the people”. This term immediately freed from the need for any evidence... The main and, in fact, the only proof of guilt was, contrary to all the norms of modern legal science, the "confession" of the accused himself, and this "confession", as the test later showed, was obtained by physical measures of influence on the accused...

It was established that out of 139 members and candidates for members of the Central Committee of the party elected at the 17th Party Congress, 98 people were arrested and executed (mainly in 1937-1938), that is, 70 percent. (The noise of indignation in the hall).

Such a fate befell not only the members of the Central Committee, but also the majority of the delegates to the 17th Party Congress. Of the 1966 delegates to the Congress with a decisive and deliberative vote, significantly more than half - 1108 people - were arrested on charges of counter-revolutionary crimes. This fact alone testifies to how absurd, wild, and contrary to common sense the accusations of counter-revolutionary crimes were brought against, as it now appears, the majority of the participants in the 17th Party Congress. (The noise of indignation in the hall.)

This happened as a result of the abuse of power by Stalin, who began to use mass terror against the cadres of the party... Suffice it to say that the number of those arrested on charges of counter-revolutionary crimes increased in 1937 compared to 1936 by more than ten times!

On January 10, 1939, Stalin sent an encrypted telegram to the secretaries of the regional committees, regional committees, the Central Committee of the national communist parties, the people's commissars of internal affairs, and the heads of the NKVD departments. This telegram said:

“the Central Committee of the All-Union Communist Party of the Bolsheviks explains that the use of physical pressure in the practice of the NKVD has been allowed since 1937 with the permission of the Central Committee of the All-Union Communist Party of the Bolsheviks... The Central Committee of the the Central Committee of the All-Union Communist Party of the Bolsheviks believes that the method of physical pressure must be applied in the future as an exception , in relation to obvious and non-disarming enemies of the people, as a completely correct and expedient method".

Recently, just a few days before the present congress, we summoned to a meeting of the Presidium of the Central Committee and interrogated the investigator Rhodes, who at one time led the investigation and interrogated Kosior (deputy chairman of the USSR Council of People's Commissars, member of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the CPSU - S. B.), Chubar (deputy Chairman of the Council of People's Commissars of the USSR, a member of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the CPSU - S.B.) and Kosarev (1st Secretary of the Central Committee of the Komsomol - S.B.). This is a worthless person, with a chicken outlook, morally literally a geek. And such a person determined the fate of well-known party leaders, and determined the policy in these matters, because, by proving their "crime", he thereby provided material for major political conclusions. The question is, could such a person himself, with his mind, conduct the investigation in such a way as to prove the guilt of such people as Kosior and others. No, he could not do much without the proper direction. At a meeting of the Presidium of the Central Committee, he told us: “I was told that Kosior and Chubar are enemies of the people, so I, as an investigator, had to extract from them a confession that they were enemies. (The noise of indignation in the hall)"

End of transcript.

Let's comment on the notes in brackets: "The noise of indignation in the hall".

It is understandable when it comes to delegates from factories, factories, collective farms. They could not even dream in a nightmare that they were so falsely accused, tortured and shot by the celestials - members of the Politburo! But the bulk of the delegates is a high nomenclature. They already knew a lot, and the first persons in the Central Committees of the Union republics, regional committees and regional committees - themselves signed extrajudicial sentences which were passed by the so-called "troikas" - the head of the NKVD department, the secretary of the Central Committee-regional committee-regional committee and the prosecutor. I wonder if they were "indignant" or not "indignant"? Or was the “noise” among them because “such” is being said “in front of everyone,” that their turn would come to them, to their participation, to their signatures under extrajudicial sentences?

Separately, we note that in the report the expression “mass arrests and executions”, “mass repressions” is used 11 times. But, nevertheless, Khrushchev announced repressions against the party-Soviet nomenklatura. He did not focus on the fact that they were shooting, putting everyone in the camps, most of them the so-called “common people”. Then he did not publish the figures from the certificate of the special commission, on the materials of which the report was based: only "in two years - 1937-1938, 1,548,366 people were arrested and of them 681,692 were shot."

Let's return to the delegates "from factories, factories and collective farms." After all, they believed that "enemies" had made their way into the Central Committee. And at the same time, the majority believed that their neighbor and workmate, some loader-fireman whom they knew as flaky, was also an "enemy of the people".

A fracture in consciousness

The decisions of the XX Congress of the CPSU became a turning point in the history of the party and the country. And the most important thing is in the minds of the people. Even if not cardinal, but the reinforced concrete foundation cracked. True, Khrushchev's report was not published then. Only the resolution of the Presidium of the Central Committee of the CPSU was published under the title "On Overcoming the Cult of the Personality and Its Consequences." Official, without shocking facts. It was published in Pravda only on July 2. There is no Khrushchev congress decisiveness in it, but there are characteristic reservations:

“Soviet people knew Stalin as a person who always speaks out in defense of the USSR from the intrigues of enemies, fights for the cause of socialism... It would be a gross mistake to draw conclusions about some changes in the social order in the USSR or look for a source from the fact of the existence of a personality cult in the past. this cult is in the nature of the Soviet social order".

The expression "mass repression" occurs only twice. There are no words "arrests and executions". There are no figures from the report.

(Khrushchev's report was published in the USSR in the journal Izvestia of the Central Committee of the KPSS only in 1989, at the height of perestroika and glasnost).

However, after the congress, the report was circulated in full version in the primary party organizations of the country, that is, almost the entire adult population learned about it. Although it cannot be said that it, the population, in the absolute majority has risen, dared to resolutely condemn the repressions. Didn't you believe Khrushchev? How could you not believe when almost every one of the relatives was sent to a camp or shot as an "enemy of the people"? Millions of innocent convicts left the places of detention! So, they closed their eyes and ears, did not want to think. Did you believe in Stalin's divine infallibility? Were you afraid?

The nomenclature was wary of what was happening. One example is the meeting of the party activists of the Vasileostrovsky district of Leningrad on March 16, 1956. On it, a researcher at the Institute of Russian Literature of the Academy of Sciences I.A. Alekseev, a member of the CPSU since 1920, made a proposal to posthumously judge Stalin by a party court as "a criminal against humanity, the ideological inspirer of murders".

The meeting was attended by about 750 people, 4 people voted for Alekseev's proposal.

The further behavior of the country's top leadership was also uncertain. An extraordinary XXI Congress was held three years later. Khrushchev's report contained moments of almost an apology for Stalin: “Implementing the policy of industrializing the country and collectivizing agriculture, our people under the leadership of the Party and its Central Committee, headed by I.V. Stalin made the deepest transformations. " It is clear that within the Central Committee and the Presidium of the Central Committee there was a struggle between the Stalinists and the anti-Stalinists.

And only in October 1961, at the 22nd Congress, the whole country in radio reports and from the pages of newspapers directly told the Soviet people about "monstrous crimes against the Party and the people." After the XXII Congress, the cities and objects in the USSR were renamed, named after Stalin, and his body was taken out of the Mausoleum.

Three years later, in October 1964, Khrushchev was removed from the post of First Secretary of the Central Committee as a result of a conspiracy. Thus ended the era known in history as the "Khrushchev thaw".

However, during the next 20 years of the communist regime, called the "stagnation period", the name of Stalin was never raised on the shield, especially at the official state level. And only in the new, democratic and capitalist Russia they began to erect monuments to Stalin, statesmen are not ashamed to talk about his "merits". Yes, if only they. According to sociological surveys in 2019, the level of Stalin's approval broke a historical record. Stalin's role in history is positively assessed by 70% of citizens.

Nevertheless, now in the yard there are not only different times and different customs, but also a different level of access to information. Everyone has the opportunity to find out what happened and how. No matter how the existing government tried to justify Stalinism, no matter how unconscious the people were, the numbers and facts will remain and will live on. For instance:

“According to the data presented in 1991 to the Supreme Soviet of the RSFSR by the prosecutor’s office and the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the total number of victims of Stalinist repression was 50 114 267 people: this includes those arrested and released, sentenced to prison and camp terms, dispossessed, exiled, evicted and killed. The figure of 50 million includes repeated arrests of the same persons... " (History of Russia in the XX century. Ed. By A.B. Zubov. Volume 2. The era of Stalinism (1923-1953). M., 2016.)

In any event, there were 50 114 267 sentences.

The population of the USSR in 1953, the year of Stalin's death, was 188,217,000.

As of January 1, 1953, the number of prisoners in the USSR was 2,468,524.

The able-bodied population aged 16 to 59 is estimated at 94 million. That is, on January 1, 1953, every 38th adult citizen of the Soviet Union was serving time.

If people want, they can always turn to this information and think. If he wants, of course.

In September 1971, 15 years after the XX Congress, Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev passed away. Cheated by the authorities, ridiculed and despised by the so-called "common people". For giving at least relative freedom, he brought millions of innocent prisoners out of the camps. Our people worship only those who keep them in constant fear?