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Old November 22nd, 2012, 06:09 PM   #1

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Stalin's succession- who is the best candidate to take over?


By the end of his life, Stalin had grown increasingly distrustful of even his closest comrades, like Molotov.

There were a few choices for power- Beria, Kruschev (historical), and Malenkov-Molotov.

BERIA

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Beria was a ruthless and opportunistic man, only joining the Bolsheviks when it was clear they were winning in Georgia. An extremely effective manager, leading Soviet Georgia to prosperity, but by no means a Communist, he would re-introduce private property like Deng Xiaoping if it meant best for the country. Also wanted to give away East Germany- "better all of Germany is our friend than 1/4 of it" he said. He was responsible for leading the Soviet atom bomb project, the Soviet industrial evacuation project, and even though he was a brutal man, helped hide many famous Soviet scientists, writers, and military men sentenced to be purged. When Stalin said, "a shame we shot him" in regards to a Soviet tactician during the war, Beria said "maybe we didn't? Maybe we forgot?" and the next day the particular Soviet commander was on the front (don't remember his name). Did not like Armenians and thought they wanted Georgian land.

Accounts of his behavior vary. His son paints him as a kind man, but Molotov says he was a "slug", only concerned with personal ambition, and Stalin's daughter says he cast a dreary aura wherever he went. Kruschev's guys accused him of rape, but I personally don't believe this- he was working constantly, where would he have time to rape all day? Plus, they wanted to discredit Beria to legitimize their execution of him and cement their power.

MOLOTOV

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Molotov was very different in character from Beria- he was a vegetarian and a committed Communist. He, like Beria, was a workaholic, nicknamed "iron-ass" by his comrades back in the underground pre-1917 days for his work ethic. A hardline Stalinist, he stood with Stalin's course of action until the very end, but was objective in his assessment, unlike the devoted Kaganovich, who would get angry when Stalin was nor praised enough in his presence.

He was a very good diplomat, and in charge, Soviet diplomacy would receive a major boost.

Quotes on the man:


Havoc and ruin had been around him all of his days, either impending on himself or dealt by him to others. Certainly in Molotov the Soviet machine had found a capable and in many ways characteristic representative — always the faithful Party man and Communist disciple. How glad I am at the end of my life not to have had to endure the stresses which he has suffered; better to never have been born. In the conduct of foreign affairs, Mazarin, Talleyrand, Metternich, would welcome him to their company, if there be another world to which Bolsheviks allow themselves to go.

Winston Churchill, in The Second World War, Vol. I : The Gathering Storm (1948), Book I, Ch. 20 : The Soviet Enigma, p. 331

Molotov has a fine forehead, and looks and acts like a French professor of medicine — orderly, precise, pedantic. His importance is sometimes not appreciated; he is by no means a mere figurehead, but a man of first-rate intelligence and influence. Molotov is a vegetarian and a teetotaler. Stalin gives him much of the dirty work to do. He had the nasty job of admitting how many cattle and hogs were killed by the peasants before the famine.

John Gunther, in Inside Europe : Again Completely Revised (1938), p. 483

MALENKOV

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Malenkov... Also an intellectual, very smart man. Stalin liked to quiz his comrades on matters of history, Communist theory, and philosophy. Only Malenkov and Zhdanov, the philosopher, who died in 1949, answered sufficiently well- they were very specific, such as asking what year and month a volume of Das Kapital was published. He was one of Stalin's favorite apparatchiks. He was determined to increase consumer goods production. In his short time in office, he lowered peasant taxes, and got the fame of many peasants, like my relatives, who remember the Malenkov 1953 days.

He likely would have teamed up with Molotov.

So who would be best for the USSR?

Last edited by Koba; November 22nd, 2012 at 06:22 PM.
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Old November 22nd, 2012, 11:38 PM   #2

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Beria was obviously a very dangerous man who shouldn't ever have been bequeathed much power, but he had some very pro-West leanings towards the time of Stalin's death, so he might have put an end to the Cold War much earlier had he come to power. Malenkov and Molotov were, in my opinion, totally unsuited for the role of Chairman. I still feel Khrushchev was the right choice - sure he was volatile, but I think he was also pretty clever. If he hadn't be ousted after Cuba, again I think things might have turned out very differently.
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Old November 22nd, 2012, 11:54 PM   #3

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Kruschev is widely regarded as a disaster in the former USSR... His policies resulted in the entrenchment of the bureaucratic nomenklatura as the ruling class, whereas before they had been beholden to the higher state organs. The 150,000 small business "cooperatives" which created 100% of the USSR's toys, 40% of the furniture, and 12% of the tools, mostly specialized tools, were forced into the state planning apparatus. Agricultural reforms were catastrophic, and prices on basic goods increased for the first time since the removal of food quotas in 1947. Plus, most people loved Stalin and de-Stalinization made people hostile towards the government- people who were ordered to destroy Stalin portraits hid them in their homes. Infamously, pro-Stalin protests in Georgia were put down with tanks.
1956_Georgian_demonstrations 1956_Georgian_demonstrations
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Old November 23rd, 2012, 12:09 AM   #4

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Originally Posted by Koba View Post
Kruschev is widely regarded as a disaster in the former USSR... His policies resulted in the entrenchment of the bureaucratic nomenklatura as the ruling class, whereas before they had been beholden to the higher state organs. The 150,000 small business "cooperatives" which created 100% of the USSR's toys, 40% of the furniture, and 12% of the tools, mostly specialized tools, were forced into the state planning apparatus. Agricultural reforms were catastrophic, and prices on basic goods increased for the first time since the removal of food quotas in 1947. Plus, most people loved Stalin and de-Stalinization made people hostile towards the government- people who were ordered to destroy Stalin portraits hid them in their homes. Infamously, pro-Stalin protests in Georgia were put down with tanks. 1956 Georgian demonstrations - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Sorry I have a tendency to assess the USSR from a foreign policy view point, as that's what a studied. I don't know much about the domestic side. Still, I know that by Cuba he was trying to implement some radical changes in the Soviet system, in particularly in the field of agriculture.
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Old November 23rd, 2012, 01:21 AM   #5

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Stalin's successor


Quote:
Originally Posted by Koba View Post
By the end of his life, Stalin had grown increasingly distrustful of even his closest comrades, like Molotov.

There were a few choices for power- Beria, Kruschev (historical), and Malenkov-Molotov.

BERIA

Click the image to open in full size.

Beria was a ruthless and opportunistic man, only joining the Bolsheviks when it was clear they were winning in Georgia. An extremely effective manager, leading Soviet Georgia to prosperity, but by no means a Communist, he would re-introduce private property like Deng Xiaoping if it meant best for the country. Also wanted to give away East Germany- "better all of Germany is our friend than 1/4 of it" he said. He was responsible for leading the Soviet atom bomb project, the Soviet industrial evacuation project, and even though he was a brutal man, helped hide many famous Soviet scientists, writers, and military men sentenced to be purged. When Stalin said, "a shame we shot him" in regards to a Soviet tactician during the war, Beria said "maybe we didn't? Maybe we forgot?" and the next day the particular Soviet commander was on the front (don't remember his name). Did not like Armenians and thought they wanted Georgian land.

Accounts of his behavior vary. His son paints him as a kind man, but Molotov says he was a "slug", only concerned with personal ambition, and Stalin's daughter says he cast a dreary aura wherever he went. Kruschev's guys accused him of rape, but I personally don't believe this- he was working constantly, where would he have time to rape all day? Plus, they wanted to discredit Beria to legitimize their execution of him and cement their power.

MOLOTOV

Click the image to open in full size.

Molotov was very different in character from Beria- he was a vegetarian and a committed Communist. He, like Beria, was a workaholic, nicknamed "iron-ass" by his comrades back in the underground pre-1917 days for his work ethic. A hardline Stalinist, he stood with Stalin's course of action until the very end, but was objective in his assessment, unlike the devoted Kaganovich, who would get angry when Stalin was nor praised enough in his presence.

He was a very good diplomat, and in charge, Soviet diplomacy would receive a major boost.

Quotes on the man:


Havoc and ruin had been around him all of his days, either impending on himself or dealt by him to others. Certainly in Molotov the Soviet machine had found a capable and in many ways characteristic representative — always the faithful Party man and Communist disciple. How glad I am at the end of my life not to have had to endure the stresses which he has suffered; better to never have been born. In the conduct of foreign affairs, Mazarin, Talleyrand, Metternich, would welcome him to their company, if there be another world to which Bolsheviks allow themselves to go.

Winston Churchill, in The Second World War, Vol. I : The Gathering Storm (1948), Book I, Ch. 20 : The Soviet Enigma, p. 331

Molotov has a fine forehead, and looks and acts like a French professor of medicine — orderly, precise, pedantic. His importance is sometimes not appreciated; he is by no means a mere figurehead, but a man of first-rate intelligence and influence. Molotov is a vegetarian and a teetotaler. Stalin gives him much of the dirty work to do. He had the nasty job of admitting how many cattle and hogs were killed by the peasants before the famine.

John Gunther, in Inside Europe : Again Completely Revised (1938), p. 483

MALENKOV

Click the image to open in full size.

Malenkov... Also an intellectual, very smart man. Stalin liked to quiz his comrades on matters of history, Communist theory, and philosophy. Only Malenkov and Zhdanov, the philosopher, who died in 1949, answered sufficiently well- they were very specific, such as asking what year and month a volume of Das Kapital was published. He was one of Stalin's favorite apparatchiks. He was determined to increase consumer goods production. In his short time in office, he lowered peasant taxes, and got the fame of many peasants, like my relatives, who remember the Malenkov 1953 days.

He likely would have teamed up with Molotov.

So who would be best for the USSR?
My reading of the Russian History is basically confined to Orlando Figes' book " A People's Tragedy- The Russian Revolution 1891-1924 ", " Hitler and Stalin-Parallel Lives " by Lord Bullock," The Court of the Red Tsar " by Simon Sebag Montefiore, and some volumes concerning Operation Barbarossa. I have read extracts of some other books on post 1991 happenings also on the Amazon web site. I have read " War and Peace " by Tolstoy and " Doctor Zhivago " by Pasternak. I have read Solzhenitsyn's " One day in the life of Ivan Denisovich " and extracts of a couple of books on the Gulag camps. The novels of John Le Carre esp. " Smiley's People " and " The Russia House " have been my favourites.
I love the Russian people as they come across all these books, brave, intelligent, refined but unfortunate.
I believe with all my respect to them, that they needed a strong hand at the top all through their history and they still need it. Administration is not their strong point.
Hence my candidate, with all his cruelties and lustfullness, will be Beria.
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Old November 23rd, 2012, 03:50 AM   #6

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Stalin's successor


I have also read Nikolai Gogol's " Inspector General " which after being translated into my mother tongue Marathi, by a popular writer, has been a hugely popular play. I also recall I had read an Anton Chekhov story in Marathi. I have read " White Nights " by Dostoevsky and " Ada " by Nabokov but do not recall them. Nor could I read Gorky or Sholokhov. In addition to the above, I have avidly watched videos of Trans Siberian Railway, Moscow Metro and various other places and I wish I could travel there and have a first hand look. I am a civil engineer and admire the civil works like the various gigantic hydro-projects, the big bridges across the big rivers like Lena, Yenisei, Volga etc. and the Moscow Metro and the University at Moscow.
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Old November 23rd, 2012, 09:30 AM   #7

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It might be strange but I belive that inspite of being a sadist and rapist, Beria could have become the best candidate. It seems that he was most liberal of them all and his rules could have highly improve soviet economy.
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Old November 23rd, 2012, 03:11 PM   #8

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Originally Posted by Mosquito View Post
It might be strange but I belive that inspite of being a sadist and rapist, Beria could have become the best candidate. It seems that he was most liberal of them all and his rules could have highly improve soviet economy.
Agreed. However I can't help but be concerned over the idea of a Finlandized Germany in the cold war.
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Old November 23rd, 2012, 06:04 PM   #9

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There is really no hard evidence confirming Beria was a rapist. You are trusting Kruschev's assertions? That is like trusting Stalin about Trotsky and vice versa. They were political enemies who had a brutal power struggle- by a small margin, Kruschev won, and he had to do everything possible to discredit his opponent.
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Old November 24th, 2012, 01:14 AM   #10

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Koba View Post
There is really no hard evidence confirming Beria was a rapist.
He simply twisted up the story : Pilsudsky was a rapist and sadist. Those Poles...

Back to topic:

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Panteleymon Ponomarenko.From 1938 to 1947, Ponomarenko was the First Secretary of the Communist party of Byelorussia, and from 1944 to 1948, also the Chairman of the Council of Ministers of Byelorussia. During the WW2, he led Communist partisan units within Nazi-occupied Belarus.From 16 October 1952 until 6 March 1953, Ponomarenko was a member of the Politburo of the CPSU.

Stalin saw Ponomarenko as his successor.He was an outstanding person.He was a brilliant worker,anabstruse analyst, a man who was notable for amazing honesty and responsibility.






Last edited by General Winter; November 24th, 2012 at 01:20 AM.
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