PROBABLE CONSEQUENCES OF THE DEATH OF STALIN AND OF THE ELEVATION OF MALENKOV TO LEADERSHIP IN THE USSR
CiA HISTORICAL REVIEW PROGRAM
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PROBABLE CONSEQUENCES OF THE DEATH OF STALIN AND OF THE ELEVATION OF MALENKOV TO LEADERSHIP
IN THE USSR
Thisrovisional estimate. The subjects herein treated will be taken Into account inSoviet Bloc Capabilities" and treated more fully inSonet Bloc Capabilities through
INITIAL TRANSFER OF AUTHORITY
hc problem of transfer of power is one of the most difficult which the Soviet system could face. The important initial step, thc formal transfer of authority, with Malenkov as titular leader, has apparenUy been effected with remarkable rapidity and precision. The smoothness of the transfer of authority and the speed with which the Government and Party posts were filled, suggest an acute awareness on thc part of the Soviet leaders of the dangers Inherent in thcnd
'In the new organization, Malenkov apparenUy now holds Uie same titular position within thc Presidium and the Secretariat or thc Party and in the Council of Ministers which Stalin held. In the Council of Ministers, power has beenin the liands of Malenkov as Chairman and four First Deputy Chairmen: Beria, Molotov. Bulganln, and KaganoWch. These five make up the Presidium of the Council of Ministers. It may be significant that this body closely parallels In nature and membership thc wartimeof State Defense under Stalin. Theof power has been Increased, and the top party and government organs have been reduced in number andhc new organlaaUon of Party and Government and the extensiveand merger of several majorunder Malenkov appear to tighten and streamline the administrative syslem.
that the necessary plans to bring about thc change were prepared, at least in outline, well in advance of Stalin's death.
Malenkov's key position in thc SovietParty throughout the past fourteen years, his conspicuous and apparently planned elevationis prominent role at and sinceh Party Congress, and the accolade accorded him by Beria at Stalin's funeral suggest lhat there will bo no Immediate challenge to his position.we cannot estimate whether he has the qualities of leadership necessary tohis position and to attain unchallenged power, since he has always operated with thc backing of SLalin. Neither is it possible to estimate with confidence the capabilities or probable courses of action of his possible opponents.
A struggle for power could develop within the Soviet hierarchy at any time. .Given the nature of the Soviet state,truggle would probably be carried on within the Party organization and higher echelons of the bureaucracy. In any case, the peoples of the USSR arc unlikely to participate actively in the struggle. Eventruggle should break out in the near future, we believe that
thc hold of thc Communist Party over the USSR ts not likely to be shaken quickly. We do not believe thattruggle would in itself lead the rulers of the USSR deliberately to Initiate general war.1
PROBABLE CONSEQUENCES OF DEATH OF STALIN
Effects 'upon lhe Bases of Soviet Power
The economic and military bases of Soviet power are unlikely to be immediately affected by Stalin's death. However, the newmay prove less successful inand strengthening these bases of Soviet power.
The effect of Western diplomatic ormoves on Soviet stability and strength cannot be estimated withoutof thc contemplated moves. However, we believe that the USSR Is politically more vulnerable today than before Stalin's death. The new leadership will have difficult policy decisions to face, and these difficulties may be increased by personal rivalries for power which would reduce Soviet strength and the cohesion of the international Communist movement.
Effects upon Soviet Policies
C. In the near future, thc new Sovietwilt almost certainly pursue the foreign and domestic policies established duringyears. In particular, it will probablyi continue to emphasize unremitting hostility! to the West (Including Uie tactic of splitting*
'The Deputy Director (or Intelligence. The Joint Staff, believes Uiathould read:truggle for power could developthe Soviet hierarchy at any time. Oivcn the nature or Uie Soviet state,truggle would probably be carried on within Uie Party organization. However, any seriouscould well hare much more widespread effects, Involving Uie Army or large sections of the population. Iftruggle should break out tn thc near future, wc believe that the hold of the Communist Party over the USSR Is not likely to be shaken quickly. So long as UieIs confined wlUiln Uie Kremlin, we do not believe that it would lead the rulers of the USSR deliberately to Initiate general war."
Uiehe enlargement of thc Blocbase, and the increase of Bloc military power.
hc death of Stalin removes an autocrat who. while ruthless and determined lo spread Soviet power, did not allow his ambitions to lead him Into reckless courses of*fetaon ln his foreign policy. It would be unsafe toUiat the new Soviet regime will have Stalin's skill In avoiding general war. At least initially, the regime will also lack his freedom of action and his ability tosince it will not possess Stalin's Immense prestige and authority. Specifically, inpolicy, the new regime will probably And it more difficult to abandon positions than did Stalin and might feel itself compelled toi react more strongly if moves of Uie Westj confronted it with the need foT*majorConversely, the new leadership will probably exercise caution Ln thc near future in taking action which it thought would force Uie West to make comparable decisions. If the West should suggest reexamination of thc principal issues which have divided East and West, the new Soviet government would probably adhere to established SovietHowever, the new government would probablyess sure hand in dealing with new issues or in handling new Western proposals.*
'The Deputy Director lor Intelligence, The Joint Staff, believes thathould read: "The death or Stalin removes an autocrat who. while ruthless and determined lo spread Soviet power, chose courses ol action which although causing the Western world to rearm; did notIn general war during his .lifetime. II would be unsafe to assume that Uie new Soviet leadership will cither desire or be able to choose courses of action that will avoid preclpltaUon of general war. At least Initially. Uie Soviet regime may lack freedom of action and tho ability to manoeuvre since It does not possess Stalin'sprestige and authority. On the other hand particularly In relaUon to foreign policy, the new regime may find It more difficult to abandon positions than did Stalin and might reel Itself compelled to react more strongly to moves of the West. II thc West should suggest re-examination ol the principal Issues which have divided East and West, the new Sovietwould probably outwardly adhere lo established Soviet positions"
new Soviet regime probably fearsIt Ls in the process of consolidatingthe West may make aggressivethc Bloc. It would probablyextreme suspicion any new movesthe West, particularly thoseair forces or military forces closeBloc frontiers.
Efforts upon the Peoples of iho USSR
death of Stalin removes the manbeen built up to thc status of amany of the people of the USSK, heman of steel who had raised Russia toand military power, who hadthc German attack, and who hadpeoples of thc USSK to the greatestvictory in Russian history. Stalin'swillsychological shock to largenumbers of Soviel people. However, wethat this shock in itself will notstability of the new regime.
Efforts upon the Bloc and Iho International Communist Movement
For some time, no successor to Stalin will be able to achieve comparable status or similar significanceymbol of the international Communist movement and as thc undisputed leader of world Communism. This may have some eflect upon the rank and file, at least temporarily, but thc cohesion of thc hard core of lhe Communist movement outside the Bloc Is not likely lo be impaired. If there shouldtruggle for power within the SovietParty, the cohesion of the Communist movement ouLsldc the Bloc would almostbe weakened.
Kremlin control over the EuropeanIs so Arm that wc do not believe It will, be Impaired merely by the death ofowever, In the unlikely eventtruggle in the Sovietarty should spread lo the Soviet Army and the Soviel Security Forces, Soviet control over thc Satellites would almost certainly be shaken.
Relations between Tito and Moscow are unlikely to changeesult of the death of
Stalin. The antagonism was not personal, bul aroseenuine clash of Yugoslav national interests with the Soviet Communist Party. Moreover, both sides have takenand adopted positions which would be extremely difficult lo reverse. The Kremlin could not recognize Tito aadM Independent Communist ally without undermining itswith the European Satellites.
We do not believe that Tito's influence within the Satellites or within Communist Parties outside the Bloc will Increase, unless there shouldrolonged struggle for power in the USSR
We believe that Stalin's death will have no immediate effect upon Sino-Sovietor upon Chinese Communist foreign- However, no successor^to Stalin will have prestige and authority In Asiato his. The stature ol Moo as leader and theoretician of Asian Communism willincrease with thc disappearance of thc former supreme leader. Mao will almost certainly have more influence in thcof Bloc policy affecting Asia. He almost certainly will not seek leadership of thc international Communist movement. The new Moscow leadership will probably dealwith Mao; If it does not. serious strains in Sino-Soviet relations will almost certainly develop.
PROBABLE WESTERN REACTION TO DEATH OF STALIN AND ELEVATION OF MALENKOV
believe that in general theleaders will be disposed for thcto conduct the East-West strugglehesitancy and caution. Theyfear that any immediateon the Bloc would increase theof war and facilitate thc stabilizationin thc USSR. They will alsohope that, if Western pressure lsthe problems involved in tbcof the authority of the new regimeUSSR will bring about at least arelaxation of tensions and enable themdisagreeable policy decisions.Original document.