Soviet Union and de-Stalinization

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Soviet Union Leaders in the Post Stalin Era

Kareem M. Khalil
Fall 2010-2011
Lebanese American University

I. The Soviet Union:
a. Background about the Soviet Union from 1917-1953.
b. Vladimir Lenin.
c. Joseph Stalin.
II. Nikita Khrushchev:
a. Rise to power.
b. De-Stalinization.
c. Reforms and domestic policies.
d. Foreign Policy.
e. Expulsion from power.
III. Leonid Brezhnev:
a. Rise to Power.
b. Domestic Policies.
c. Brezhnev Stagnation.
d. Foreign Policy.
e. Death.
IV. Yuri Andropov:
a. Rise to Power.
b. Domestic Policies.
c. Foreign Policy.
V. Konstantin Cherenko:
d. Policies and short office term.
VI. Mikhail Gorbachev:
e. Domestic policies
f. Foreign policy.
g. Fall from power.
h. End of the Soviet Union.
VII. Conclusion

Soviet Union Leaders in the Post Stalin Era

The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, simply referred to ask the Soviet Union, was a socialist state that spread from Northern and Eastern Europe to various parts of Central Asia. It dated between the 30th of December 1922 and the 26th of December 1991. Until its collapse in 1991, it consisted of almost 15 constituent republics that are acknowledged today as: “Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan” [ (Rosenberg) ]. The father and founder of the Soviet Union was no other than Vladimir Lenin who managed to set the foundations of the USSR after overthrowing Tsar Nicholas II in November of 1917, and finally establishing a Soviet government in 1922. After asserting himself as the “Chairman of the Council of People's Commissars of the Soviet Union”, Lenin began planning and implementing new policies and ideas that would affect the USSR, alter and influence the rest of the world even after he passed away. McCauley (1993) describes some of Lenin’s policies during his reign as the following: nationalizing all banks and important business enterprises, distributing lands to peasants, reintegrating several states into Bolshevik Russia, and exporting the communist ideology. After Lenin’s death in 1924, Joseph Stalin was appointed as the “General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU).” Stalin, and through outsmarting and slowly banishing his opponents, managed to establish a totalitarian regime and appoint himself as the supreme leader of the Soviet Union in the late 1920’s. Stalin’s period in office was both devastating and costly to the Soviet Union in especially in its domestic policies. Stalin’s five year economic plan (the rapid industrialization of the USSR) produced remarkable results, but cost the lives of around “14.5 million peasants” (“, “), and reaped the lives of almost twenty million people and deported over twenty five others from their homes. Stalin’s gruesome and horrendous rule ended when he died on the 5th of March, 1953. Stalin’s sudden decease left an important void in which many were eager to fill. The outcome of Stalin’s death resulted in a system of collective leadership. The key figures of this communal rule were: “Nikita Khrushchev, Lavrenti Beria, Nikoli Bulganin, Georgy Malenkov, Vyacheslav Molotov, and, Lazar Kaganovich” ( 787/Soviet/Khrushchev/Krushchev.html). During this period, the struggle to instigate a premier to head the Soviet Union faced many turbulences and changes. At the beginning, Malenkov assumed power as acting Premier, and Khrushchev undertook his predecessor’s (Stalin) position as First secretary of the CPSU. Subsequently, and by 1955, Georgy Malenkov was forced to relinquish his position as Premier, and was substituted by Nikoli Bulganin (who was supported and favored by Khrushchev). After Stalin’s death, his successors proceeded to...
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