intelligence agency office of current intelligence
this paper is the tenth chapter of the caesar series, and is devoted to the purge3 of the soviet minister of internal affairs, l. p. beria. this paper, as all other chapters of the caesar aeries,orking paper, intended to assemble pertinent information from all sourcesetrospective analysis of developments affecting the soviet leadership. the reader la again reminded that the vlevsare thoee of tbe authors, and do not represent official vlevs of the central intelligence agency.
ttB.BBRIA PPTPB Table of Contents
I. Tbe Beria
Tbe Indictment of Beria.
Reviov of Berla's Poo it ion in tbe Hierarchy.
Examination of tbe
Tbe Official Communiques,
The Party Indictment
U. Sony Consequences of Berla's
Personnel Changes in the
Regional Changes in the. .
Personnel Shifts In the Party and Government
Regional Party and Government
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Berla 'e star, vhich bad been declining olnceose to an extraordinary height following Stalin's death. At that time he -again took over the direct control of the USSR security forces and carriedumber of moveo of the greatest Importance. He attempted to purge the Soviet apparatus of those vho bad opposed him or bad been used by others to oppose him. He appointed some trusted followers to posit loos In the MVD, He apparently Initiated ande-Ruaaif lcatlon policy, and used thie policy to oust some Important local official*. He also carried through an extensive purge In Georgia and restored hla followers toin tbat republic Berla thus appeared to be forging to tbe front In tbe leadership race.
Many of Berla's actions in this period appear to have been unilateral and as such to have threatened the method of Leadership which bad beenafter Stalin's death. The presidium bad been acting collectively and stressing the principle ofsince Stalin'a death. This compulsion for collectivity apparently arose originally from tbe lack of any overwhelmingly strong Individual heir apparent for tha dictator's mantle and from distaste at the summit of the hierarchy for the consequencesne-man rule of the Stalinist type.
Realizing that unquestioned supremacy for any one of their number would soon lead to tbe liquidation of at least some of the remainder as potential rivals, the ruling group apparently determined to prevent the assumption of Stalin's power by any one Individual. It must have appeared to tbe other leaders that Berla was making his bid for this power; orsomeone was able to convince tbe others tbat this was so. Thevhich goaded tbe party presidium to act against him may have been his moving two MVD divisions into tbe moscov area, an action tbat bae been reported or rumored by at least four different sources. This move. If lt occurred, vas undoubtedly too much for Berla's fellow leaders to take even If they bad previously agreed with some of tbe policies be bad sponsored.
Tbe charge that Berla bad attempted to place the MVD above the party and government received primary attention In Soviet propaganda and contained elements of truth. The allegation tbat be bad "Impeded importantarticularly in agriculture, may date back to tbe agrogorod controversy The accusation that Berla attempted to undermine the friendship of tbe peoples of the USSR tends to confirm tbe view that be vas behind tbe de-Ruaslflcatlon policy, while the charge that hecapitulatory" policy may alsoeflection on hie "de-Buss If lcatlon" policy and on his much quoted statement on "the constitutional rights of Bovlothe allegation that he "distorted" Important party and government orders may have been connected with the Implementation of the Sovlot amnesty program.
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Finally tbe charge that Beria attempted to weaken the defensive capacity of the OSSR ray have related to hla prerioue reopooaihllltiea in the field of atomic energy.
All of Berla's co-defendants vere either HVD officials or hadwith Beria In the security forces. Furthermore, Dekoncaovvere MVD ministers ln inrportaut republics at tbe time of-theirand had apparently carried through Beria-Inspired purges in thoseMerkulov bad previously headed the MGB under Beria, had beenof the Chief Directorate of Soviet Property abroad, and sincebeaded the Ministry of State Control. Beria may have usedthis last named post to Influence tho Soviet economy.
onsequence of Berla'snumber of personnel changes vere made in the party and government apparatus. Beria had begun to restaff tbe central and republic MVD organizations with hie followersfter be resumed direct control over the MVD inut vasble to accomplish this in one sweep. On Berla'sew of hie MVD appointees, notably Meshyk and Dekouozov, vere also removed from In most cases, however, replacements for Beria appointees were not made for several months, and virtually no effort was made to link those replaced with Beria. Some, ln fact, continued to occupy important state and party positions lnk. Replacements for Berla's followers ln the central and republic MVD organisations were drawn largely froa old MVD officials who had served under the present MVD minister, S. K. Kruglov.
Party and government personnel shifts following Boris's ouster do not appear to have been extensive, except in Georgia. As in the MVD changes, the party and government shifts vere carried out rather slowly and with little attempt to relate tbe changes to the Beria case. The purge of Arutunov in Armenia in3 Is the last importantparty purge which can be related to the Beria case.
The reticence over relating the regional purges to Beria may be parteneral policy of playing down the whole episode and confining the case to the MVD. olicylso reflected in the officialand in propaganda treatment of the whole episode. Failure to play up the case andeal propaganda scapegoat of Beria and hie followers plus the limited nature of the pout-Beria purge may be duo to tbe continued precenee within the hierarchy of Important offlclala who had co-operated with Beria, particularly in tbe period between Stalin's death and his ouster.
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i op sekret
It may also be doe to an understandable fear oq tbe part of at least some of the collegial leaders tbat an extensive purge might jeopardise their power and their lives. However, the fact that the case has several loose ends makes itsefinite possibility should the Soviet leaders find it expedient as an adjunct to the implementation of their policies.
It Is moat probable, hovever, that, unless some other leader moves in the same direction as Beria and attempts to usurp power for himself, the epieode is closed. The caution with which tbe purges in the MVD and the Trans Caucasian area were carried out and the lack of publicity concerning then is consistent with the policies tbat have been developed since Stalin's death. Open terror and coercion have been played down in tbe Soviet press and the ubiquitous police power has. been minimised. The concept of collective decisions bao been expressed with the heavieston tbe operation of this concept at local levels, and criticism from below has been stressed. An attempt to improve morale throughout tbe Soviet Union has been evident. All of these moves would have been Jeopardized by purges of the scope ofr purges tbat were highly publicized. The loaders clearly were against this. Their Interest appears to have been to continue to rule collectively and to control the MVD so tbat it could never be used as an Instrument to ensure the rule of one man. In this, they appear to have been successful.
i. the berla purge
onhe presidium of the party, attending itafunctionroup, appeared at the bolshol theatre for aof tho opera "the decembrists." missing from the ranks werealternate members bagirov and melnikov. berla's absence wasand inexplicable. earlier onh, unusualhad been noted in moscov; several dozen tanks and militaryarrived by rail and proceeded through the city to an unknown additional movements of military vehicles were observednight and these moremento continued untilane. aly,bohlenoscov rumor that berla vas inof tbe security breakdown ln east germany wherertota had broken oat en
ult/norr/mous pravda article bad made some pointed remarks about party unity and discipline. pravda claimed tbat "the party removes with date ml nation any appearance of petit bourgeois individualism." it quoted stalin as saying that the russian bolshevists would have ruined the cause of tbe revolution "bad they not known how to subordinate tbe vill of individual comrades to the will of tbe majority, bad they not known bow to act collectively." continuing ln this vein tbe article said: "the person who lags behind in an ideological political respect is not able to understand correctly tbe internal and external situation and cannot fulfill tbe roleolitical leader." uly,arried this theme further. calling stalin's economic problems oftriking examplereative attituderilliant development" of marxist theory, lt stated:eader whotheory, vho does not raise hla ideological-politicalnevitably lags behind life. be is unworthy ofeader and life will sooner or later strike him off the list." onaly, beria vas "struck off tbe list."
the official record
tass published onuly the texts of communiques on berla's ouster issued by the central committee of the party and by the presidium of tho supreme soviet:
the central committeefter listening to and discussing the report of the presidium of tbe central committee by g. m. malenkov as regards the criminal antiparty and ontistate actions of l. p. berlato undermine tbe soviet state in the interest of foreign capital and
manifested ln the perfidious attempts to place the USSR Ministry ofAffairs above the government and the Communlat Party of the Soviet Union, the plenum of the Soviet Communist Party central committee decided to remove L. P. Beria from the central committee of the Soviet Communist Party, and to expel him from the ranks of the party as an enemy of the Communist Party and the soviet peopU."
The communique of the presidium of the Supremeview of the fact that criminal antlstate actions of L. P. Beria intended tothe Soviet state ln tbe Interest of foreign capital have been brought to light, the presidium of the USSR Supreme Soviet, having considered the report of tho Council of Ministers of the USSR on this question, haso remove L. P. Beria from the post of 1st deputy chairman of the USSR Council of Ministers and from the post of minister ofaffairs of theo refer the case of L. P. Berla's criminal actions for the consideration of the USSR Supreme Court. The presldlnm of tbe USSR Supreme Soviet has appointed Sergei Hlklfororlch Tfroglov minister of Internal affairs of the USSR."
The case against Beria vaa opelled out more fully In an accompanying Prnvda editorial on tho day the news broke. Pravda said that Berla's criminal, antlparty and antlstate activity was deeply concealed and masked, but lately, having become Impudent and letting himself go, Beria started to disclose his real face.'1 According to Pravda, theof Berla's criminal activities can be explained by the general intensification of the undermining, ant1-Soviet activities of International reactionary forces which are hostile to our state." Tbe editorialaccused Beria of the follovlng:
"Attempting to put the USSR Ministry of Internal Affairs before the party and the government, and, by using HVD organs In the center and local bodies against the party and Its leadership, and against theof the USSR, by selecting workers for the USSR Ministry of Internal Affairs of personal loyalty to himself."
"Beria under various Inventedmpeded decisions on most important and urgent items concerning agriculture. It vas done wltb the view to undermining tbe collective farms and creating difflenities
in tbe country's food supply."
"strove to undermine the friendship of the Soviet peoplesdisseminate hostility among the USSR peoples and to activlieelements in union republics."
k. Being compelled to carry out direct orders of the party central committee and the Soviet government regarding the strengthening of the Soviet legislation and liquidation of some facta of lawlessness andaction, Berla Intentionally impeded tbe lnrplementatlon of these orders, and In several cases attempted to distort them."
5. "He hatched plans to grab the leadership of the party_and country vith the aim of actually destroying the Ccarmunlst Party and of changing tho policy elaborated by the partyapitulatory policy vhich would have brought about ultimately the restoration of capitalism."
Pravda said tbat the necessary conclusion to be drawn from the case vas that "the strength of our leadership lies In its collectivity" folly corresponding to the statement* of Marx "on the barm of tbe cult ofThe paper added that party organisations must systematically check the work of all organizations and of all leading vorkers,tbe activities af the MVD, and that this vasightuty.
This bombshell ofuly vhich blasted out of the party's ranks its second most important figure vas followederies of meetings all over the TJ5SH staged to demonstrate loyalty to the regime and to excoriate Berla. Perhaps tbe most Interesting of these vas that held by the "aktlv" of tbe Ministry of Defease onuly vhen tbe prominent military men In tbe DSSR, less Vasllevsky and Konev, pledged allegiance to the "collegia 1" References to meetings supporting the leadership subsidedev days as did references to the cose In Soviet propaganda media. This blackout gave rise to rumors In the West that Berla had escaped hieand vbb seekingbe next official word on the case cameugust vhen the Supreme Soviet, meeting after an unexplained postponement of eight days, confirmed the earlier decree of Its presidium removing Berla from his government post and revealed that tbe said decree bad been datedune, thus fixing tbe timing of Boris's arrest as
hese rumors were given some credence by Journalists because nowhere In tbe early official texts vas It ever stated that Berla bad beenThe announcement cf tbe results of Berla's trial published onecember stated that the accused had again admitted their guilt "In court" and tbat thebybeen carriedonecember. However, as ln the case of Stalin's death, ve aredependent on official Soviet sources for thiB information.
occuring on or about tbat date. ong blackout ensued untilecember, when lt vas officially announced that the Prosecutor's office bad completed its case against Beria.
The Indictment of Beria
The prosecutor's statement ofecember alleged that tbe following bad been established:
Beria badroup of plotters and the group bed aimed to use the MVD against the government and party In the "Interest of foreigntriving to place the MVD above the party andto grab power, liquidate the regime, restore capitalism and revive domination of the bourgeoisie. After Stalin's death Beria intensified his criminal actions "primarily by using MVD organs for the seizure of power, which made It possiblehort period of time to lay bare tbe true face of the traitor of the motherland and to take decisive measures to pot an end to his hostile activity." The plotters "subjectedonest workers af the MVD who bad refused to carry oat the criminal Instruction of Beria."
"In order to subvert tbe collective farm system and to create fooderia by all manner of means, sabotaged andwith the implementation of most importantirectedan upsurge of tbe economy of collective and state farms and toward
a steady Improvement of tbe well being of the people."
and his accomplices carried out criminal measures inresuscitate remnants of the bourgeois nationalist elements lnsow hatred and discord among the people of the USSR andto undermine the friendship of the peoples of tbe DSSR withRussian people."
h. Beria bad established contact through "planted spies" and through secret contact with counterrevolntlonary Georgian mensbevlks and "agentsumber of foreign Intelligence agencies."
Beria had made his career by "slander, intrigues and variousagainst honest party and local government workers vho stood ln bishole series of such "machinations" were uncovered; for example, Beria hadriminal campaign against Sergo OrdxhonIkldze, who had distrusted Beria. The plotters also murdered people from whoa tbey feared exposure; for example, M. S. Kedrov. Other facta relating tomurders were also uncovered.
"As established by the investigation Beria and his accomplicesumber of treacherous acts, endeavoring to weaken the defensive capacity of the Soviet Union."
7- Other crimes conmltted by Beria were also uncovered, testifying to hla profound moral depravity" and in addition facte regardingmercenary actiona* were also established.
Having been exposed by "nnmeroua witnesses" and "troe documentary data tbe accused admitted their guilt of havingumber of most serious state crimes." Tbey were charged withreason and tried according to the lavecemberThe accused, besides Berla, were: Merkulov, minister of state control; Dekanozov, MVD minister in Georgia; aobulor, deputy minister of MVD; Ooglldze, chief of one of tbe MVD departments; Meshlk, MVD minister ln the Ukraine; and Vlodximlrskl, chief of the MVD Department of Special Investigations.
The Trial Announcement
ecember the Moscow press published the findings of the supremo Court, Its sentence and the notice of exeootlon of Berla and his six co-defendants. Tbe special session of the court was chaired by Marshal Konev and Included tbe following members: Shvernik, alternate presidium member and trade union chairman; Zeyin, first deputy chairman of tbe Supreme Court; General Moskalenko, commander of the Moscow Military District snd
1/ See footnoteo th* effect tbat tbe Berla groop bad been "in eoort" at the time of their trial. The lawmmediately after Kirov's assassination) provides that "cases must be heard without participation of tbe parties." This has beenby legal experts to mean that neither the defendants nor their counsels can participate ln court daring consideration of tbe caBe, and thus leaves inexplicable the referencearther admission of guilt by Berla and his cohorts ln court.
It should be noted that ln the Sovlot Union it is extremely rare that laws ore publicly Ignored or tampered with. It Is possible tbat this provision of tbe lav vas ignored so on to make it clear tbat Berla agreed that his guilt was absolute and concurred In tbe sentence, since, under present conditions, the new leadership apparently wished toublic trial comparable to those ofs in vhich this could have been brought oat.
The lav also provides that investigation of snch cases must be terminatederiod of not more than ten days; tbat appeals against tbe sentence aad petitions far pardons are not to be admitted; and that sentence of death is mandatary and most be carried oat These provisions appear to havo been carried out to tbe letter as veil as In tbe spirit of the lav.
garrison; Mlkhallov, secretary of the Moscov oblast cownittee; Kusbava, chairman of the Georgian trade onions; Oromov, chairman of the Moscov court; and Lunev, first deputy minister of the HVD. The court confirmed the evidence of the preliminary loveetlgatlons and tbo accusations laid down in the prosecutor's Indictment. Tbe court established that Beria:
"acting ln the Interest of foreignetgroup of conspirators." Tbey Intended to use tbe organs of the Ministry of Internal Affairs against the Communist Party and government, to place tbe MVD above the party and government in order to seize power, restore capitalism and restore the control of the bourgeoisie.
The beginning of the treasonable activity occurred9 and lasted up until Berla's arrest. After Stalin's death, these activities wore intensified, bringing about tho exposure. After Boris became MVD minister be promoted bis conspirators In the movement and persecuted honest workers.
The group carriedumber of criminal measures "to actlvixe remnants of bourgeois nationalist elements ln the union republics to sow hostility between the peoples of toe OSSR,"
h. Beria, "with tbe aim of creating food difficulties
and hindered the carrying out of the most Important measures
part of the government tbat were directed toward tbe raisingof tbe collective and state farms."
5- "Beria and his accomplices committed terrorist acts against the people whom they feared would exposethe Crimea comitted by L. P. Beria that testified to hla deep moral corruption" were also
The guilt of tbe accused was "fully proved in court by genuinedata, personal notes of the accused and evidence of numerous The accosed vere sentenced to "the highest measure of criminalconfiscation of their personal property and vith the stripping of all their military titles and rewards. Tho sentence Is final and there lo no appeal. The oentonce has been carried out."
Review of Berla's Position In the Hierarchy
Vhat can be said of this official record of Berla's purgeT Before such an examination, lt may be worth while briefly to consider again Berla's position In the hierarchy prior to Stalin's death.
The replacement of MGB Minister Abakumov by party official S. D. Ignatiev ln1 was takenign that Beria 'a power was
slipping, particularly since lt vas followed by tbe ouster of at least eight and possibly eleven republic MOB officials. Another suggestion along this line occurred In2 vbenevly appointed Georgian MOB minister, publicly criticised that ministry's operations and claimed it needed more party control. Then, at the party congressod later atoveaber anniversary celebrations, there verabints that Berla's star vas dimmer la th* fact tbat his relative ranking bad dropped. Tbe "doctors'ublicized Indded further fuel to this argument.
Stalin's death, however, abruptly reversed this decline of Berla, and he shot up to nev heights by becoming second only to Malenkov. He also regained control of the MJB, vhich vas merged vith tbe MVD, under Beria as minister. Ex-MJB chief Ignatlev, the Interloper, Joined tbe party secretariatrief period bat fell Into disgrace in April vhen the doctors' plot vas reversed.
The reversal Is believed to have been instigated by Beria. There were at least two other developments ln the period following Stalin's death tbat also appeared to be Bar la-Instigated. The first vas thaof some long-time associates of Berla back Into key KVD positions, nnd the secondf lcatlon policy vhich had as its offshoot the removal of some outspoken supporters of Stalin's nationality policy such as Melnikov in the Ukraine. ev housecleaning vas ecccapltsbed In Georgia, and, thoughev loose ends, it clearly proclaimed that Berla vas the man running tbat particular political machine. Thesemarked Beriaowerful figure ln tbend suggested tbat he had probably been in agreement vith. If not tbe primary sponsor of, tbe "new look." From all outward appearances,erla was at the height of his power onane when he did not show up
vmTwnuD iu "cm Da.bi vbj* uwouu ba
party member freshrovincial party meeting vho relatedbig" official told the meeting that the political unrest In Moscow would be over very soon and that "Mr. Malenkov will beby Mr. Berla who Is very strong, very Intelligent. Mr. Berla will be the dictatorery fine ruler."
at the opera party. Hla vas no gradual decline,recipitous one.l/ The Arrest
Tbe pressing questions aaong Western observers at tbe tine of Berla's arrest vere: how vas lt actually brought about and hov could the arch-conspirator have failed to know about the plot against hint Littlehas been unearthed on this point. Hovever, Beria vas neithernor all powerful. Other security chiefs had been purged before him, although they admittedly did not rank so high ln the Sovietat the time of their disgrace. He vas at the height of his power and possibly less wary than usual. Berla's ranking associate vas named as bis successor and may well haveart tn bis detention. This, too. Is not unusual ln Soviet history.
The logic ofould seem to point to an "inside job" ratheritched battle, and tbe arrest probably took place beforeune. Thie timing is arrived at by noting that the Supreme Soviet mooting in August vhlch confirmed tbe decree of its own presidiumBeria reported that the aubject decree bad been datedune. How long beforeune the event occurred Is not known, j
scoe propaganda after theisimpudent" with the "imperialist adventures" ln Berlin and Korea, which would place the crista some time afterune.
One flaw mars this picture. After the formation of the new KVD under Beria, some of the economic functions vhlch bad boen tbe primaryof tbe old KVD passed to the corresponding government ministries handling these problems. Even slave labor control appears to have been taken away from tbe HVD and given to tbe Ministry of Justice.
The reason for this action is not clear and there appear to be only two possible explanations: either Beria deliberately acceeded to the breaking up of hla empireid to shake off the dread stigma of "policeman" attached to hisid also manifested in theplot reversal and the'nationalities policy, or this economicwas being taken from him in the give-and-take atmosphere attendant on the division of spoils following Stalin's death.
Possible Military Involvement
More important than the establishment of the precise time tbatcut dbvn Is the determination of the reason behind the action atcrucial period In Soviet history when the party vas stllX reelingdeparture of Stalin. On thls_DOlnt there is rather curious andsurprising information.
The actual details of Berla's arrest and whether or not thin show of force actually occurred may never be known. It therefore seemsadvisable to review in detail the official Soviet record of Berla's perfidyearch for clues as to the meaning and significance of the purge.
Examination of tbe Hecord
The Official Commnnlqaes: The communique of tbe central committee Issued onuly sold that lt bad been decided to expel Beria from the party aa an enemy of the party and of the people after listening to and discussing the report of Its presidium given by Malenkov. The report said tbat Berla's nefarious activities in the interest of "foreignvere manifested In his attempts to place the MVD above theand tbe party. The communique of the presidium of the Supreme Soviet said that in view of the fact.that traitorous actions of Berta had been brought to light, it was decided to relieve him of hlaposta, refer his case to the Supreme Court and appoint Kruglov as MVD minister.
The central committee communique thus indicated tbat tbe primary charge being levied against Beria, at least for public consumption, vas
this alleged attempt to place the MVD shore the party sod the government.!
The fact that Malenkov presented this case to tho central committee was not unusual. As the ranking presidium member he van the logical candi date to defend the party and tbe government. The fact that Berla wasso "vickedly In the Interest of "foreign capital" wastandardecessary Insertion; since be was not conducting himself In theof the party, he had to be conducting himself in the Interests of
With respect to the communique of tbe presidium of the Supreme Soviet tbe important thing vas that S. H. Kruglov vas named Berla's euocessor. The choiceuriousmplying that he hod.conspired against Beria. Two reasons have been advanced in explanation of this appointment: (a) with Kruglov at tbe helm, at least temporarily, the MVD careerist security elements would probably raise little opposition to Berla'sand might even Imagine that individually tbey could ride out the Btorm: (bJ Kruglov vas acceptable to the majority af the collegia1 leadershipeutral official vho vas not predisposed to assist one of theirto become another Stalin.
Tbe Prayda Editorial: The Pravda editorial accompanying theprovided latere sting additional details. Although Berla's criminal activity had been "deeplyfter Stalin's death be becameand started to disclose his real face by "letting himselfhlB would accord with rumors reported ln the press that Beria hod beenoup. The phraseology gives one tbe Impression that the Soviet leaders at Stalin's death had picked up one endope, hod given tbe other end to Berla and had played out enough length far Berla to bang himself. The charge of placing the MVD above the party aad
}j This charge remained paramount throughout all the official Soviet statements on the case, and may have hod some factual basis. For example, in the period following Berla's arrest, newspapers incontained numerous references to party-MVD rivalry lo thatand lt appeared that numerous MVD officials bad "broken loose" from party supervision and either Ignored or overridden partyin many instances.
2/ Kruglov Is known to haveigh post In the MVD afterminister.
government vas clarified somewhat by the statement that Beria hadto select MVD workers "of personal loyalty to himself." had not "brought any new personnel into the apparatus. Hereinstated and promoted some old officials likefallen Into disfavor, presumably without clearing It with themust have been obvious to tbe other Soviet loaders ot the timeappointment aa minister that he would return some of histo
The second charge levied against Beria by Pravda waa that he had(past tense) decisions on Important items concerning agriculture in order to undermine the collective farms and create difficulties ln the country's food supply. This charge servedorerunner fortartling admissions about agricultural failures tbat Khrushchev was to make in let strangely this sin of Berla's was not pressed too strongly ln propaganda and not referred to by Khrushchev In his unusual agricultural report to the central committee. Perhaps the reason for overlooking this ripe propaganda plum was the controversial nature of agricultural policy itself. Beria bad. never directlyublic position on this policy as had, for example, his fellow polltburo members Andreev and Khrushchev. It has been speculated earlier that Berla's side ln this dispute, the anti-Khrushchev aide, was made known through his two Transcaucaeua satraps, Bagirov and Arutlnov, and tbat it was Beria who caused the abandonment of Khrushchev's radical agrogorod policy This speculation received some credence when both Arutlnov and Bagirov wore deposed following Beria'a arrest.
Beria was also accused of undermining the friendship of the peoples of the DSSR, disseminating hostility among them and activating bourgeois nationalist elements. This appeared to confirm suspicions that Beria had been behind the nev nationalities line evident in the BBSS since Stalin'sine which was sharply curtailed following his arrest. It raised the unanswerable question ofIn this regard. ingrelian (Georgian) himself. It seems doubtful to tbe authors that Beria had any particular concern about the inequities of Great Russian chauvinism. Conceivably, his experience in security matters may have convinced him of the impractlcality ofolicy.
here la no known basis for press reports that the Machine Tractor stations bad "been turned Into bases for the secret policeeapon of political power."
Another and stronger possibility is that Beria, by becoming Identifiedolicy of thla sort, may have hoped to build up wider support in noo-Rusolan republics and areas and to poseiberal humanitarian' ratherard-hearted security officer.1/
Tbe Pravda editorial thenoint which was never again toBerla Intentionally Impeded and ln some casesregarding strengthening Soviet legislation and "liquidationfacts of lawlessness and arbitrary action." While it isto comment on tbe legitimacy ofharge. It Isconceivable that it was directly connected with the case. known, forthereather
noticeable upsurge in crime, parTlCTUaTiybe Moscow area, following the amnesty ofarch. This amnesty!
resulted in the release of criminal elements in Tne camps anar jelably affect political prisoners. There waseport itch said that prior to the arrest of Berla there hadion of coast guard patrols along the shore. Individuals were allowed access to the beach without special document checks and lt vas rumored that "one could fish where one liked." After Berla'showever, the security measures In the area reverted to theirstandards. These examples arc cited not as proof tbat Beria wasIllegality, which wouldather foolhardy move on his part, but as possible support for tbe thesis tbat hie co-leaders were using tbe damaging effects cf his "capitulatory" policy to round out the case against him.
Pravda lastly accused Beria of attempting to grab the leadership of tbe party in order to destroy It, change its policy into sone and bring about the restoration of capitalism. It must be borne In mind of course thatecision toey official is taken ln tbe DSSR, that official is usually found guilty of every crime in the book. Nevertheless, some of these chargesing of truth
tbea. zaia "capitulatory" pqIIrt idea must, have-been a
concluded Its case against Beria By stressing tbe necessity for collective leadership and pointing out tbat it vasightuty for party var kern to check tbe actions of the MVD. __
The indictment of Beria, which vas not publishedecember, five months after his arrest, named six co-conspirators vho bad plotted with him through the yeara. It repeated most of the charges made in the original Pravda article vltb tvo noticeable exceptions, and lt added several more. The tvo charges dropped vere those dealing vith Berla's failure to carry out orders to liquidate lawlessness and hla pursuitcapitulatory policy."
The first additional charge was that Beria had started his nefarious career as early9 when he vas engaged In undercover work In Georgia.0 he was said to have established contact with the Menshevik secret police in Georgia who were allegedly in league with British Intelligence. This accusation involved come rewriting of history, because Beria bad been officially praised for his great success in carrying out the orders of tbe central committee in tbat area. This particular charge was the only one that impinged on any of the other Soviet leadersirect manner. For example, A. I. Mikoyan's career had closely paralleled tbat of Beria9oth having been engaged in the same work in the same area for the party. Both bad been captured and bad spent time In Georgian jails.*/
Another new charge was tbat Beria had Intrigued against various honest" party workers such as Ordxhonikldte who had stood in his way. Ordzhonikldze was thus being held up to those who might be tinged with
1/ It Is obvious, however, that any of the Soviet leaders could be tied to Berla's clique of conspirators if there bad been any desrre to do so. All of them bad worked closely with Beria. To take one example, Malenkov bad been nominated for the premiership by Beria slightly over three months prior to his arrest.
"bourgeois nationalism" in Georgia, so on exampleoodrdahonlkidze may well have died an unnatural death. Krsvcbenko claimed, Tbat he died by violence, that hie end vas not natural, my sources have not tho slightest
Of perhaps even more importance in this additional charge vas the allegation that tho plotters had actually murdered people from vhomeared exposure. "Terrorist" murder seems toommon thread running through the great purge trials. This accusation against Beria implicitly drew attention to other so-called "murders" in recent Soviet history, particularly those of Zhdanov and Shcberbakov. Their actual instigators, unlike those of Kirov, for example, had not been brought to trial. Only the "intermediaries" and their hirelings the "doctor-vreckers" had The "doctors' plot" reversal set tbe accused free and iteversal in vhich Berla Is believed to haveirect hand. The charge that Beria had actually murdered to achieve his ends raised the possibility that it someday might be alleged that Stalin himself had fallen victim to Berla. harge, lt must be said, has indeed never been hinted, hut it Is one that could be formulateduture need should arise. In this connection it should he noted that the Indictment is open-ended enough to provide for theof more conspirators if necessary.
A third nev element vhich appeared in the indictment vas that Berla hadumber of treacherous acts, endeavoring to veaken the defensive capacity of tbe Soviet Onion." It is difficult to determine vhether this vasay of rephrasing tbe other charges or whether It vas designed to cover another area of crime. It may be that Beria '
}J Protfda onh anniversary of Ordzhonlkidze's death inO quoted hla as saying tbat the "party attitude" Is the main thing. "He vho Is distracted from this path vithbe partycomes first and foremost."urther posthumous honor was paid to Ordzhoniklflxe in,own at the northern end of the Caucasian military highway was renamed for him. Tbe town had previously borne his name2.
2/ This,.incidentally, was not tbe first time that Ordzhonlkidze's name had cropped opurge trial. One of the accused members of the "anti-soviet Trotskyltebe chauffeur Arnold, testified that he bad been commissioned to kill Ordzhonlkidze in an automobile wreck, but did not have the courage to go through with lt.
- Ik -
be atoalcProgram for his ovn advantage ana my have differed vith other Soviet leaders on tbe program. Ironically
lesB thaa two months after his arrest, Malenkov declared that the US hydrogen monopoly" no longer existed, and onngust the Soviet testhermonuclear device occurred. Beria vas thus ill rewarded for nis efforts. Els detention meant that someone else vould have to be called in to head this program; tbat individual has yet to be-identified. There is some evidence to suggest that the militaryarger role in the program than previously, but this Is by no means firm. There have also been persistent rumors tbat the Ministry of Medium Machinevhich vas formed on the same day that the Supreme Soviet passed its decree regarding Berla's arrest, and Is now under Malysbev, has taken over the problem.
The indictment, in conclusion, lumped one final set of chargespresumably to take care of anything tbat might have been It alleged that "other" crimes of Boris were uncovered,to his "profound moralnd In addition facts criminal mercenary action" were established. The accused to have admitted their guilt of havingumber ofstate
The Party Indictment
In short, tbe party Indictment differed from tbe publishedonly in providing core details rather than in developing any new charges.
A word is necessary here about those accused with Beria. All were fanner security officials. Meehik, as MVD minister in tbe Ukraine, vas probably involved in the post-Stalin purges there, including tbat of Melnlkov. The same can be said of Dekanozov, who presumably carried out the spring housecleaning operation ln Georgia. Merkulov had not been directly.connected with the MOB sincet vhlch time Abakumov relieved him as MGB minister. He had been minister of state control since0 and had been confirmed in tbat post by tbe3 Supreme Soviet mooting which ratified the post-Stalin government organization.2/
Merkulov, Dekanozov, Kobulov, and VToazimiraky vere all key figures In the postwar Chief Directorate of Soviet Property AbroadIMZ) which played an important role In implementing Soviet economic policy in tbe. Satellites. This Chief Directorate was peopled /with security personnel.
urther research Is needed on tbe job of the minister of state control, particularly during Merkulov'e tenure. The official Sovietstated that Merkulov bad been relieved of his appointment oneptember.
Although nominally attached to tho Council of Ministers, Its personnel wore presumably close to Berla and possibly subject to his personal The linking of these four men vith Berla suggested that tbe bugaboo of Soviet policy toward Germany was being raised and that Berla's. role n this policy, particularly with respect to GUSIKS, was being attacked.!/
It will also be recalled that Dekanozov bad been ambassador to Germany at the time of the Soviet attack and had la tor reached the level of deputy foreignith respect to Tlodzlmirsky, the fact that he was called "the former head of the Investigation Department for particularly Important matters" suggested that he hod been tbe "Ryumin" of the doctors' plot reversal and provided yet another Indication that Berla had been responsible for this action. lastly, the fact that only these six of Berla's associates were selected to stand trial with him bore out other indications that the main target In the purge vas the MVD and control of this organization.
The Court's Findings
Onecember the press published the findings of the Supreme Court, Its sentence, and the notice of Berla's execution all at the same time. The guilt of the accused had'been "fully proved." They had been sentenced
1/ Research is also needed on the role and function of GUSIMZ. There were numerous rumors and reports that Berla supported the so-called "soft" policy toward Germany and/or that bo vas held responsible for the security debacle which followed the institution of this policy. We have been unable to shed any light on these rumors except to point to previous reports regarding the dispute over the postwar.policy ln Germany reportedly supported by Malenkov andopposed by Mikoyan, Kaganovich and Berla, Inter alia.
2/ DekonozoT vasey figure ln the contacts vhich the DSSR Isto have attempted vith the Germans. According to these reports, the USSR made contact vith the chief of tbe Oat land Branch in the Main Political Directorate of the German Ostminieterium, in an effort to arrange meetings between German and Soviet officials in Sweden. One of the Soviet officials was to be Deputy Foreign Minister Dekanozov, and the object of this meeting vas said to be tho arrangingeparate peace between Germany and the USSR. There were other reports from Georgian refugees to the effect that Berla and other Georgian leadersepresentative to Berlino approach Hitler about tbe possible creation of an independent state of Georgia.
to death and their execution had been carried oat. While the courtconfirmed all the accusation* of the prosecutor'she one charging Beria vith weakening tbe defenses of the USSR was not reiterated In the release of the court's findings, as were all the others.
The selection of Marshal of the Soviet Union Konev as chairman of the special session of the Supreme Court vhlch conducted the trial and passed sentence vas partially explained by reason of protocol, since he held the same rank as Beria. Tbe question arose as to why Marshal Konev vas singled out for this dubious honor (there are aboutther Marshals of Soviet Union). He bad been one of the three marshals mentioned asvictims of tbe doctors' plot and on this ground the choice might be amid toertain peculiaralleged victim sitting in Judgment on his implied attacker. urprise member of the court vas K.unev, whose rank was given as first deputy minister of the MVD. Lunevecond level party official of the Moscow Oblast with no known security experience.2/ His appointment to this post recalled the parallel of Ignatiev'e assignment to the MOB
Presumably tbe prosecutor was Procurator Oeneral Rudenko who had been appointed after Berla's arrest. Rudenko bad previously beenprosecutor ln the Ukraineumber of years, and since he has never been relieved may now be holding both positions.
II. Some Consequenceb of Berla's Pall
Personnel Changes In tbe MVD
As has been pointed out, the manner In vhlch the Beria case vas handled Indicatedetermined effort vas being made to .confine both the blame and the consequences of tbe "conspiracy" to the security forces alone. The Indictment, trial documents and propagandathe case gave primary emphasis to the charge that Beria had attempted to buildonspiratorial group vlthln tbe MVD ln order toover from party and state organs. Ko party or state officials other than Merkulov vere publicly Implicated In thend even In the case of Merkulov, neither his Ministry of State Control nor any of ita officials vere accused of complicity in the case.
The propsganda potential contained in the accusations vaa notexploited. irtual silence ln the Soviet press regarding Beria setew days following his arrest, and the propaganda campaign at the time of his execution vas silenced alsoev days of tbe event. No real attempt vas made to make tbo Beria "conspirators" responsible for current shortcomings, such as those in agriculture, ln spite of the fact that the Indictment vould havo provided ample ammunition forampaign.
Berla's arrest vas followed by the replacement of his followers ln Moscov and In tbe regional republics. In the republics, however, moat of his appointees vere not removedumber of months after hisand their removal la not known to nave resulted In their arrest. Some, in fact, continued to enjoy responsible posts in both the party and government apparatus of their respective republics.
The extent of the Beria purge may have been partly conditioned by the extent to which Beria had been able to place bis men In the MVDbetween March and Els resumption of direct control over tbe security forces ln March had been followedumber ofand personnel changes In Moscow and In the republicb, and ltapparent, as tbe charges against him vere to specify, tbat Beria was attempting to place his adherents In positions of Importance in tbe nev MVD. It vas equally apparent, however, that Beria bad not been able to complete the reetafflng of this organization and that the MVD stilla number of non-Beria or antl-Beria officials at tbe time of his arrest.
As has been noted. In tbe March reorganization, the Ministry ofAffairs (HVD) under Minister. Kruglov and the Ministry of State Security (MOB) under S. D. Ignatiev vere merged into the nev Ministry of Internal Affairs (KVD) under Beria. Kruglov was retained ln the new
organizationeputy minister, but Ignatiev vas reassigned to the party secretariat. Upon reversal of the "doctors' plot" lo April, however Ignatiev was dismissed from the secretariat forhich he had allegedly displayed as MSB minister.
Toe deputy ministers vho bad served under Kruglov and Ignatiev were not Identified ln the new orsanitation, and lt Is probable tbat Beria carriedhorough restaff lug of tbe nev MVD on this tmadquarters level vith men whom he could trust more fully. I. X. Haslennlkov and I. A. Serov, deputy ministers of the old MVD under Kruglov, were not known to have retained their posts under Beria, and the same was true of men who had served as deputy ministers of the MGB under Ignatiev. A. A. Eplshev, who had been deputy minister of tbe MGB for personnel, dropped fromhe other deputy MGB ministers, under Ignatiev, Stakhanov and possibly Voronenko, were not identified as deputy ministers of tbo new MVD, and lt Is possible that they vere either denoted or ousted when
Ryuain, deputy mlnia-
ter for investigations under Ignatiev, vas arrested'and charged vith res possibility for the fraudulent "doctors" plot." Hla replacement appears to have been L. B. Plodzimlreky, one of Berla's co-defendants. The trial proceedings disclosed that Beria bad also brought In B. Z. Kobulov as deputy minister and S. A. Ooglldze as bead of an unspecifiedIn tbe nev KVD.
Berla's arrest woo followed by that of three close associatesMVD apparatus in Moscow; Kbhulov, Vlodzimirsky and Goglldxe vereand executed along with blm.reported
that N. N.ember ofunion eecrexanax, was placed in tbe MVDonth after Berla's arrestirst deputy minister to Insure that Berla's influence vas erased and that orders from the presidium were being carried cut. In addition, tbo party's control of tbe MVD vas apparently assured through tbe appointment of K. F.arty careerist, as first deputy minister. Public Identification of Lunev in this position came In December when he served on the Beria trial board, but defectors report tbat be was appointed in September.
1/ Eplshev has subsequently been Identified as first secretary of the Crimean Oblast party organization.
Regional Change8 In the MVD
A study of appointments and dismissals in the repnhliean MVDafter Stalin's death and Berla's purge strongly suggests tbat while Berla made great efforts to restaff these organisations, presumably with bis own men, he was not able to complete the process In the four-month period daring which be again occupied tbe post of USSR security minister. It Is also interesting tbat,ew exceptions, most of these appointees were not removed from office- Immediately after hla Several were elected to important posts In the republic partylnU, and some of those vho were replaced, rather than suffering arrest, were simply demoted to lesser positions. By the end of5 of tbe Union Republics had followed Moscow's lead in merging their MVD-MGB organizations Into tbe new MVD. 1/ Inut ofases, tbe former MSB ministers of the republics were named to head the new MVD; in oneev minister was brought la from another area; and la oneormer MVD minister was named as minister of tho now MVD.
All of these former MQB ministers bad either been appointed undor Ignatlev, or had served under him for nearly two years. It Is possible that Ignatlev may haveaction in the Soviet party opposed to Berla, andev of these republic ministers may have beenof Ignatlev, even though some of them had at on earlier dote served under Berla in tbe security forces. This contention Is borne oat by the factumber of these ex-MSB ministers were replaced by Berla subsequent to their appointments as MVD ministers In April. Inthose former MQB ministers vho surrlved tbe Berla period as heads of tho local MVD organisations are still ln office. This Is true of S. P. Oosev In the Korelo-Fiunish SSR; A. V. Tereehenko, Kirghiz SSR; I. L. Mordovets, Moldavian SSR; and V. T. Vasklo, Turkmen SSR. M. I. Baakakov, former Belorussian MQB minister, vho vas appointed to head the nev MVD In April, vas replaced la this post by bis deputy, M. F. Decbko, onune, but vas restored aa bead of tbe Belorussian MVD ln late August. Berla apparently brought about the ouster of nev MVD ministers vho had previously beaded the republic MQB organizations in Estonia mod Lithuania. In Estonia,. Moskalenko was replaced as MVD minister by M. K. Krassman onay. After Berla's arrest, Krassmon vas replaced by J. K. Lombak, tbe former MVD minister of Estonia.
Fifteen of tbenion Republics have their own Ministries of the Interior. Ho MVD minister or MVD organization has ever beenin tbe RSFSR, and although the RSFSR constitution lists an MVD among its other ministries, lt lo assumed that the all-Union MVDfulfills this function.
In Lithuania, p. p. Kcudakov, former MGB minioter in that republic, vas replaced as MVD minister hy I. L.ative Lithuanian, onune. This action closelyeeting of the Lithuanian central committee, vhlch scored tbe old leadership of tbat republic for mistakes In agricultural policy and for "distortions" of tbe Soviet nationalities policy. These "distortions" consisted principally inthe appointment of native cadres to Important posts in_xheand ore rent hue la om In forcing the use of tbe Russian language on Lithuanians. The charges closely resembled those made at tbe Ukrainian central committee meeting earlier In June which resulted in the ouster of Ukrainian first secretary L. G. Melnlkov.
It is believed tbat tbe line regarding "distortions" of the nationalities policy Is traceable to Beria and vas used by him to get rid of Soviet officials whom he desired to unseat. K. F. Lyaudis,second secretary of the Lithuanian party, was identified aa Vlldzhyunas' replacement In Vildsbyunas, however, was identified as chairman of Vllnua city executive committee when he was elected to tbe USSR Supreme Soviet ink. Before hisas MVD chief, Vlldzhyunasather obscure Lithuanian party official, wltb no known background in the, security forces. P. P. Konda-kov reappeared subsequent to Berla's fall as the UMVD chief of theVladimir Oblast near Moscow. Lyaudis, however, appears to haveareer party official, and his appointment vould suggest that in the republica the party is closely supervising tbe vork of the MVD.
Tbe post-Stalin MVD minister In Azerbaijan, S. F. Yemelyanov, bad previously been the MGB minister in tbat republic and had survived all of the republic's MGB changes Since he survived tbe Beria period, only to be replaced In August after Berla's fall, lt Is likely that he was one of the few former MGB ministers who had remained loyal to Beria during tho Ignatiev period. It Is also possible that he was closely associated with M. D. A. Bagirov, the top man ln Azerbaijan, whose fall also followed tbat of Beria. There ia virtually noinformation currently available on the new Azerbaijan MVDA. K. Guskov.
V. G. Dekanozov, an early associate of Beria, replaced A. I. Kocb-lavushvill, the former MGB chief, as Georgian MVD minioter innd Kbchlavashvlll became deputy MVD minister ln tbat republic. Berla's arrest Dekanozov was replaced by an army officer, A. I. Inaurl, and later appearedo-defendant of Berla's In December, and wasalong with blm.
In the Ukraine, P. j. Meshyk, who bad been appointed as MGBin the middle ofas confirmed as minister of the new MVD In April after tbe republic's MVD and MGB had been merged. Like
Dekanozov in Georgia, Meshyk vas removed from office almost immediately sfter Berla's arrest, and vas tried and executed along vith him. Meehyk'c replacement in the Ukraine, T. A. Strokach, vas another former minister of the old MVD under Kruglov and bad been Ukrainian MVD minister bef ore the April reorganization. .
Following the merger of the Latvian MVD and MGB, H. K. Kovalchuk, vho had been appointed Latvian MSB chief in early March was confirmed as MVD minister in that republic. Prior to bio assignment in Latvia Koval-chuk's official post bad been that of Ukrainian MGB mlnlster.l/ une, however, Kovalchuk was replaced as Latvian MVD minister by I. D. Zuyan, possibly ln accordance vith the "native cadres" program Initiated by Beria. Although Zuyan was not nominated to the Supreme Soviet in, no replacement for him has been identified and it Is believed that he still holds the post.
A. P. Byzov, who was appointed MVD minister of the Uzbek SSR inad previously beeninister under Abakumov, but vas demoted to the post ofinister of tbe Uzbek republic Byzov seems to have survived Berla's decline since he vasto the Uzbek central committee ink.
In the one case where the minister of the previous republican MVD organization was named to head the new MVD lnhat minister has remained In office. V. V. Guhln, the Kazakh MVD chief prior to the Aprilerger, took over the new MVD In that republic, has remained in office, and was elected to the USSR Supreme Soviet inki
Personnel Shifts ln the Party and Government
In the six-month period following Berla'sumber ofpersonnel shifts were made in the Soviet party and state apparatus. Some of these shifts were clearly related to the Berla case, while others related to the implementation of the "new course" in agriculture andhird factor, yhlch may have been operative In all of thechanges, seems traceable to the differences of opinion and
has reported that Kovalchuk vas serving as senior soviet adviser to the Polish security forces2 and
Jockeying for position among tbe poet-Berla Soviet leaders.!/
Zncaves, tbe poet-Berla personnel shifts nay be related to the Beria case vith relative assurance. This Is trueev changes ln Moscov, but more particularly of those In Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia. These party and government changes generally followed tbe pattern observed In the MVD replacements vhlch followed on the purge of Beria: tbe shifts were not very extensive, except ln Berla's native state of Georgia; but there, as well as other places, most of the replacements were not madebut extendederiod of months. No indication was given tbat those replaced were arrested; little publicity attended tho changes and In almost all cases thereeneral reluctance to propagandize tbe link between these regional purges and tbat of Beria.
Io Moscow, the most Important government official known tooria associate was V. H. Merkulov, minister of statean old associate of Berla's In the USSR security apparatus,
The date on union
Merkulov's sucoessor,_V.bavoronkov, was appointed it not known;as aid-October,
Merkulov had served as USSR MGB minister In tho postwarnd later beaded tbe Chief Directorate for Soviet Property Abroad. 0 he bad taken over tbe Ministry of State Control and during tho period of his tenure in that office began to enlarge the checking and control functions of tbat ministry. It Is possible that Beria bad used him both to influence Soviet policy in Germany through the Chief Directorate of Soviet Property Abroad (vhlchumber of Beria followers other than Merkulov) and to extend his control over Soviet internal affairs
l/ Beginning ln lateumber of provincial and republican party secretaries and state officials were replaced, usually on charges of inadequate implementation of the new economic course. These changes will be discussed more fullyater study.
2/ Merkulov was bead of State Security at the time that Shcherbakov was allegedly murdered by tbe participants in the "doctors' plot."
8 andround tne time Berla come to Moscow to take command of tbe security forces from Tezhov. Lt. Gen. Vcdonln, whoSpirldonov,areer army officer, but there is aa yet nolcation that tbe Kremlin security function itself haa been completely taken over by army troops.
Regional Party ond Government Shifts
The results of tbe Beria purge vers most strongly felt in the Trans Caucasian republics of Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia. Inreas, however, the replacement of the majority of Berla's followersrolonged process, with little propaganda relating the personnel changes to complicity in the Berla case.
In tbe Soviet republic of Georgia, the home state of Stalin and Beria andungle of politicaloint plenum of the Georgian central committee and Tbilisi town party committee was held* July to discuss the ouster of Beria. Els activities were strongly condemned by Georgian party leaders whom he bad apparently placed In office in Beria was accused "af giving harmful advice to the Georgian leaders and trying to sow the seeds of bourgeois nationalism in thatumber of Individuals were criticized for giving assistance to Beria in his efforts to seise power. Among these were V. G. Dekanozov, Georgian MVD minister who vas tried and shot vith the Beria.obalov, USSR deputy MVD minister who shared the same fate; A. M. Rapava, Georgian minister of state control, vho hadumber ofpoets in the MGB under Berla; H. M. Rukhadze, former Georgian MSB minister who bad been purged. S.ember of the Georgian party buro, vho had formerly held Important posts in; and S. R. Mllshtein, vho formerlyirectorate of the MQB, hut whose whereabouts had been unknown for several years. Two former first secretaries of the Georgian party, Charkvianl and Mgeladze, wereon the same grounds. All of these officials cited as Beriaare believed to have been so, vith the possible exceptions ofCharkvianl and Mgeladze.
A curious feature of the July meeting In Georgia van that it wasby Georgian party leaders who owed their positions to Beria. These were the men who beaded tbe group vhich came to power in3eorganization vhich replaced virtually every important Georgian party and state official in office at that time. V. M. Bakradze, Georgian premier, A. I. Mlrtskhulava, first secretary of the Georgian party, and V. M. Chkhivadze, third secretary of the party, are examples of this group and were among tho principal speakers at the July meeting.
With the exception of Dekanozov, Rapavs and Hamulov, most of Berla's appointees continued in office and vere active in Georgian affaire until late September,lenum of tbe Georgian central committee vas called to consider the Implementation of the "July plenum of the central committee of the CPSU." This vas tbe DSSR central committee meeting vhich had dismlBscd Berla, and vhich apparentlyecision regarding the manner In vhich Berla's followers were to be bandied throughout the USSR. This oblique reference to the Jaly plenum of the USSR centralT!ommittee vas the only vay ln vhich the republican purges were officially related, to that of Beria. Failure to implement the decisions of this plenum (and other shortcomings) vere the official charges leveled at outgoing leaders not only in Georgia, bat also In Armenia and Azerbaijan.
The September Georgian party plenum vas attended byH.ember of the USSR party secretariat. This fact tended to underscore tbe role of tbe secretariat, headed by H. S. Khrushchev, in partyreplacements, and the attendancearty secretary at local party purgesommon feature of these purges. At this Georgian plenum, most of the Beria-appointed members of the party buro vereand it vas "recommended" that the premier also be replaced. Party Secretary Hirtskhulava vas supplanted by V. P.ative Georgian. The letter's last post vas that of deputy political officer of the Kiev Military^ District, and he had served In this post and on the Ukrainian orgburo daring H.hrushchev's tenure as first secretary of the Ukrainian Party. V. M. Bakradze, tbe Georgian premier, vas sabsequently replaced by D. D. Dzhavakhlshvlll, vho bad previouslyost of secondary Importance in the Georgian republic.
Although most of Berla's appointees vere replaced at the September plenum, some remained in office untilk. I. S. Zodelova, vho had been released from imprisonment by tbe Beria forces in April to take tbe post of first deputy premier of Georgia, was not replaced in this post untilU.i/ The second and third secretaries of the Georgian party, D. Z. Romelashvili, and T. H. Chkhlvadze, vho bad assumed their posts ln April, did not decline In status until Februarywhen they were elected to tho Georgian central committee, but not to the buro or secretariat, Romelashvili, however was elected to the USSR Supreme Soviet.
1/ Moreearde lavaumber of other Georgianhad been purged on charges of embezzlement and other crimes. In April, three of these men Including Zodelava vere exonerated and restored to high offices in the Georgian party aad government. This vas the Georgian version of the doctors* plot reversal and, likeeliberate slap at tbe previous regime.
The purge of M. D. A. Bagirov iu Azerbaijan my also be related to that of Berla, although certain aspects of this case re on In obscure. On tbe basis of his background, Bagirov would appear to have been an lnpor-tent and close associate of Berla. Both bad worked together ln Trans -Caucasian security and political affairs sinces, and there arc some reports of friendship between tbe two. There is reason to believe, however, that Berla and Bagirov nay have had differences of opinion over tbe Soviet nationalities policy. Both bad earlier been ardent advocates of the "RuesIflcatlon" line and Bagirov continued to associate himself vith tbe "Ruse if lcatlon" approach ln tbe period Immediately prior to Stalin's death. Berla, as ve have seen, apparently took an opposite tack. Further, Bagirov paid his allegiance to Malenkov in the period after Stalin's death rather than to Berla.
In any event, tbe announcement of Berla's arrest vas closely followed by tbe purge of Bagirov ln Azerbaijan. Inoint plenum of the Azerbaijan central committee and the Baku city party committee met to discuss the Berla case. The meeting vas attendedember of the USSR party secretariat, P. H. Pospelov. At the plenum Bagirov vas stripped of his party posts snd it vas "recommended" that he also beae chairman of tbe Azerbaijan Council ofhe specific charges against Bagirov did not Include collaboration vith Berla; lt vas stated tbat he had Ignored the "party principle ofleadership." Be was accused among other things of havingvicious style of leadership"ong period which bad resulted In "serious violations of party principles of tbe selection of cadres."
Formal action on tbe central committee's "recommendation" that Bagirov be removed as Azerbaijan premier did not comeonth later. Hla replacement, T. I. Kuliev, vas tbe man Bagirov had supplanted the previous April. Six days earlier, onugust, H. T. Amtrnslanov had been appointed first deputy chairman of the Azerbaijan Council of Ministers and A. M. Ouskov named to replace S. F. Yemelyanov an MVD minister ln tbat republic. eported Berla associate, I. D. Sumbatov-Topuridze, vas also removed as deputy chairman of the Azerbaijan Council of Ministers.
1/ In mld-Aprll Bagirov had "voluntarily" given up bis post of first
secretary of the Azerbaijan party to former Azerbaijan MVD chief T. A. Yakabov, and assumed tbe poet of chairman of the Azerbaijan Council of Ministers. Bagirov nay have been removed from his post and the all-Union party's presidium prior toune. Like Melnikov and Berla, be vas absent from the opera party on that date.
As previously Indicated, the reasons for Bagixov'e purge are somc-vhat Obscure. actor of importance my have been his open opposition to Khrushchev'a "agrogorod" policy The latter hypothesis is strengthened; by the fact tbat tbe only other Soviet official to voice similar opposition vas also purged in
The situation vith regard to Baglrov'e replacement van quite As previously stated, when Bagirov shifted from his position of first secretary of the Azerbaijanosition vhlch he had heldo tbat of chairman of the Council of Ministers, Ta. A. Yakubov replaced him. Takubov bad worked under and vith Bagirovoth In the central committee's apparatus andecretary of that organization. After Baglrov'e purge, Yakubov remained as first secretary, and T. I. Kullev, who bad been replaced by Bagirov asof the Council of Ministers, returned to this position. Tbns, tvo men vho bad worked for many years with Bagirov vere kept in Important positions In tbe republic even after he vas purged.
Both remained active ln Azerbaijan affairs until February iKullev was nominatedeputy toumpreme Soviet In tbat month, and Yakubov delivered tbe accountability address to theparty congress ln latet tbe congress, hovever, both were singled out for severe -criticism. While working with Bagirov tbey were said to have agreedowardly manner with his unparty type of work and to have been obsequious to him." Kullev vas removed from the Supreme Soviet electoral list, and both vere subsequently replaced ln their posts.
There are tvo possible explanations for this peculiar action. possible that, because Bagirov had held this poet for anpossibly through Berla's protection, an advanced form ofdictatorial rule developed vhlch stifled the vitality of The post-Berla Kremlin leadership, therefore, wasonly with weeding out Berla's associates but also withdamage done by them to active party control over all branches
Soviet life. The long delay ln removing the remaining members of the Azerbaijan leadership suggests tbat they may have beenhance to reform but failed to respond. Apparently, tbe simple removal of' Bagirov vas not sufficient to correct the situation In tbe republic and the Kremlin then recognized the necessity for further purging ln order to bringevltalizatiou of the Azerbaijan party.
On the other hand, it is possible tbat these men were left lnduring tbe six months which elapsed between Bagirov's purge and their removal because the Kremlin could not agreeither their guilt nor the extent of their association with Bagirov. The presidium may have been split Into factions concerning tbe removal of these men and tbe weight of opinion fell to keeping tbea. By February,hift in the balance
of power conceivably could have taken place, and those tbat vlsbed to remove these men may have prevailed.
A third republic In vhlch tbe Beria purge had profound repercusBloas vas Armenia. Here too, tbe purge of Berla's followers vas long ln coming.ecember,lenum of the Armenian central committee called totbe July (Beria) and September (agricultural) plenums ofH central committee, the entire Armenian secretariat, headed by. Arutlnov vas dismissed and tbe membership of the party buro vas thoroughly revamped. The meeting vas attended by USSR secretariat member P. H. Pospelov, vho badimilar session In Azerbaijan in July. As ln Azerbaijan, tbe nev Armenian leaders headed by S. A. Tovmasyan badoccupied positions of secondary importance ln the republic.
Arutyunov's ties with Boria extended back to0 'e when both be and Bagirov bad been closely associated vith Beria In Trans Caucasian affairs. Mention of tho "July plenum of tbe CPSU" at the Armenian party mooting vhlch dismissed Arutyunov indicated that bis dismissal vasto the Beria purge. Ao in tbe case of Bagirov, an additionalmay have been Arutyunov's criticism of Khrushchev's "agrogorod" program.
Although the Armenian purge vas Indirectly tied to the Beria case, official Soviet propaganda did not stress the point nor accuse theArmenian officials of implication In Berla's alleged plot to take over tbe Soviet party and government. Principal stress vas laid onof the principle of collective leadership, on the dictatorialof the old secretariat and buro, andbureaucratic" approach to problems of agriculture and Industry. These charges were again stressed ln late February by tho new Armenian secretary, .Tovmasyan, at the republic party congress.
In the period following tbe arrest of Beria, two prominent officials apparently purged by him vere partially rehabilitated. L. G. Melnlkov vas appointed Soviet ambassador to Pnmania onuly, and S. D. Ignatiev was identified as first secretary of the Bashkir ASSR party organization on
Melnlkov bad been first secretary of tho Ukrainian party organization and an alternate member of the USSR party presidium at the time of his purge in early At that time he was accused of mistakes ln agriculture and of violations of the Soviet nationalities policy,ln the western Ukraine. These charges, believed to have been
Instigated by Berla, resulted In the removal of Melnikov from his party posts by tbe Ukrainian central committee and presumably In bis dismissal
from the DSSR party presidium, although no official announcement vaa mode to this effect.
. Ignatlev badumber of Important party and state posts prior to his ouster in He bad served in regional party organizations such as those of the Bashkir ASSR and the Belorussian SSR, and had also held Important posts In the DSSR central committee apparatus. As is veil known by this time, he replaced V. S. Abakumov sometime ln
as DSSR minister of state security, snd removed several Beriain that organization. Ath Party Congress in October
Ignatlev wasember of the central committee and of the enlarged party presidium. In3 be was removed from tbe party presidium and appointed to the secretariat, at tbe same time that the old MGB vas mergedev MVD under Berla. The following month Ignatlev was publicly criticized for "political blindness and Inattenttveness" In connection with the reversal of tbe "doctors' plot" and vas removed from the party secretariat. Since his original appointment to the MSB was believed to have been engineeredaction In the party hierarchy hostile to Beria, and since the "doctors' plot" was apparently directed ot Beria, It is hard to avoid tbe conclusion that Ignatlev's ouster vas due to the Influence of Beria. Speculation to this effect by Western correspondents vas passed by the Soviet censors. Following his removal, Ignatlev vas not Identified ln another post untilhen he appeared as the first secretary of tbe Bashkir ASSR party organization,
a post which be bad held some years previously.
While lt Is difficult to follow the thread back through theof these post-Berla purges, the following seems to emerge from the exploration. There haseneral reluctance ln propaganda and instatements to implicate anyone in the Beria case other than those tried and executed in December. Little publicity surrounded tbeof MVD, party and government officials associated with Berla, and fev vere charged with actual complicity in his "conspiracy." The purge of his associates proceeded rather slowly. Ia:considering theof the charges, the purge was limited In its scope and mild in Its consequenceo, and there Is no indication that the majority of thosewere subsequently Jailed. Some, in fact, continued to occupy responsible party and state posts ln the republics. There vere alsoof Indecision regarding replacements for some of these appointed to posts held by Boris's followers in tbe republics, since at least two of these were in turn replaced by nev men several months later.
This Indecision may be due to the continued presence within tho hierarchyumber of officials vho co-operated vith Beria during his bid for power. It is obvious that he needed at least tbe formal approvalumber of party and state officials for several moves made between
March and These would include:
The dismissal of S. D. Ignatlev fron the party secretariat in April, which would have required the approval of members of the party presidium and/or the central committee.
The appointment of V. G. Grlgoryan to the Collegium of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and S6 the Foreign Ministry's-press chief, which would have required at least the formal approval of Important state officials.
The June press campaign regarding "distortions" of the Soviet nationalities policy, especially ln the Ukraine ond Lithuania.
The Ukrainian central committee '* dismissal of Its firstL. G. Melnikov, and his presumed removal from the USSR party presidium.
The numerous personnel changes on the republican ministerial level which required at least the formal approval of tbeState apparatus.
If it is true that there are important officials still In the Soviet hierarchy vho bad co-operated closely with Berla, it would help tosome aspects of the case for which there is currently no otherexplanation. It woaldv explain why thereoera toto confine the blame for Berla's activities solely to the security forces, and why those of his followers vho remained In office at the time of bis arrest were removed only slowly and apparently suffered no drastic retaliation for their co-operation. It would explain tho rather curious propaganda handling of tbe Beria case--the fact tbatno publicity *as given to It between tbe announcement af hisand tbe trial, and tbe swift termination of the propaganda campaign following each of these events. This was done, in spite of the fact tbat Berla and his followers would have made excellent scapegoats for past snd present shortcomings In tbe USSR vhich havereat deal ofwithin the last year. In the important sphere of agriculture, for example, Berla had been accused of Impeding Important decisions hat there vas virtually no attempt to follow up this point. Treatment of the case contrasts strongly vith that af the "dootore'plot" vhich featured an Intensive, sustained propaganda campaign. Failure to accord similar treatment to the Berla "conspirators" and their collaborators is difficult to understand unless there are Important people vithin the Soviet hierarchy vho have good reason to want the Beria case forgotten.