De-Stalinization (Russian: десталинизация, destalinizatsiya) consisted of a series of political reforms in the Soviet Union after the death of long-time leader Joseph Stalin in 1953, and the ascension of Nikita Khrushchev to power.
The reforms consisted of changing or removing key institutions that helped Stalin hold power: the cult of personality that surrounded him, the Stalinist political system, and the Gulag labour-camp system, all of which had been created and dominated by him. Stalin was succeeded by a collective leadership after his death in March 1953, consisting of Georgi Malenkov, Premier of the Soviet Union; Lavrentiy Beria, head of the Ministry of the Interior; and Nikita Khrushchev, First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU).
The term "de-Stalinization" is one which gained currency in both Russia and the Western world following the collapse of the Soviet Union, and was never used during the Khrushchev era. However, de-Stalinization efforts were set forth at this time by Nikita Khrushchev and the Government of the Soviet Union under the guise of the "overcoming/exposure of the cult of personality", with a heavy criticism of Joseph Stalin's "era of the cult of personality". However, prior to Khrushchev's "Secret Speech" to the 20th Party Congress, no direct association between Stalin as a person and "the cult of personality" was openly made by Khrushchev or others within the party, although archival documents show that strong criticism of Stalin and his ideology featured in private discussions by Khruschchev at the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet.
There were dangers in denouncing Stalin as he was placed on a pedestal both at home and among communists abroad. In the years 1953–1955, a period of "silent de-Stalinization" took place, as the revision of Stalin's policies was done in secret, and often with no explanation. This period saw a number of non-publicised political rehabilitations, (such as Marshal Mikhail Tukhachevsky, Politburo members Robert Eikhe and Jānis Rudzutaks, and those executed in the Leningrad Affair) and the release of "Article 58ers". However, due to the huge influx of prisoners returning from the camps (90,000 prisoners in 1954–55 alone), this could not continue.
In December 1955 Khrushchev proposed a commission to be set up in order to investigate Stalin's activities on behalf of the Presidium; this investigation found out that out of the 1,920,635 arrested for anti-Soviet activities – who were arrested on fabricated evidence in the first place and confessed under torture authorized by Stalin – 688,503 were executed.
De-Stalinization meant an end to the role of large-scale forced labour in the economy. The process of freeing Gulag prisoners was started by Lavrentiy Beria. He was soon removed from power, arrested on 26 June 1953, and executed on 24 December 1953. Nikita Khrushchev emerged as the most powerful Soviet politician.
While de-Stalinization had been quietly underway ever since Stalin's death, the watershed event was Khrushchev's speech entitled "On the Cult of Personality and Its Consequences", concerning Stalin. On 25 February 1956, he spoke to a closed session of the 20th Party Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, delivering an address laying out some of Stalin's crimes and the "conditions of insecurity, fear, and even desperation" created by Stalin. Khrushchev shocked his listeners by denouncing Stalin's dictatorial rule and his cult of personality as inconsistent with communist and Party ideology. Among other points, he condemned the treatment of the Old Bolsheviks, people who had supported communism before the revolution, many of whom Stalin had executed as traitors. Khrushchev also attacked the crimes committed by associates of Beria.
One reason given for Khrushchev's speech was his moral conscience; Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn said that Khrushchev spoke out of a "movement of the heart". This, the Communists believed, would prevent a fatal loss of self-belief and restore unity within the Party.
Martin McCauley argues that Khrushchev's purpose was to "liberate Party officials from the fear of repression". Khrushchev argued that if the Party were to be an efficient mechanism, stripped from the brutal abuse of power by any individual, it could transform the Soviet Union as well as the entire world.
However, others have suggested that the speech was made in order to deflect blame from the Communist Party or the principles of Marxism–Leninism and place the blame squarely on Stalin's shoulders, thus preventing a more radical debate. However, the publication of this speech caused many party members to resign in protest, both abroad and within the Soviet Union.
By attacking Stalin, McCauley argues, he was undermining the credibility of Molotov, Malenkov, Kaganovich and other political opponents who had been within "Stalin's inner circle" during the 1930s more than he had been. If they did not "come over to Khrushchev", they "risk[ed] being banished with Stalin" and associated with his dictatorial control.
Khrushchev attempted to make the Gulag labour system less harsh, by allowing prisoners to post letters home to their families, and by allowing family members to mail clothes to prisoners, which was not allowed under Stalin. When Stalin died, the Gulag was "radically reduced in size". On 25 October 1956, a resolution of the CPSU declared that the existence of the Gulag labour system was "inexpedient". The Gulag institution was closed by the MVD order No 020 of 25 January 1960.
Khrushchev renamed or reverted the names of many places bearing Stalin's name, including cities, territories, landmarks, and other facilities. The State Anthem of the Soviet Union was purged of references to Stalin. The Stalin-centric and World War II-era lines in the lyrics were effectively excised when an instrumental version replaced it. The Joseph Stalin Palace of Culture and Science in Warsaw, Poland was renamed in 1956.
The Yerevan monument was removed in spring 1962 and replaced by Mother Armenia in 1967. Thousands of Stalin monuments have been destroyed not only in the Soviet Union, but in other former Communist countries. In November 1961, the large Stalin Statue on Berlin's monumental Stalinallee (promptly renamed Karl-Marx-Allee) was removed in a clandestine operation. The Monument in Budapest was destroyed in October 1956. The biggest one, the Prague monument, was taken down in November 1962.
Given momentum by these public renamings, the process of de-Stalinization peaked in 1961 during the 22nd Congress of the CPSU. Two climactic acts of de-Stalinization marked the meetings: first, on 31 October 1961, Stalin's body was moved from Lenin's Mausoleum in Red Square to a location near the Kremlin wall; second, on 11 November 1961, the "hero city" Stalingrad was renamed Volgograd.
Contemporary historians regard the beginning of de-Stalinization as a turning point in the history of the Soviet Union that began during the Khrushchev Thaw. It subsided during the Brezhnev period until the mid-1980s, and accelerated again with the policies of perestroika and glasnost under Mikhail Gorbachev.
De-Stalinization has been considered a fragile process. Historian Polly Jones said that "re-Stalinization" was highly likely after a brief period of "thaw". Anne Applebaum agrees: "The era which came to be called the 'Thaw' was indeed an era of change, but change of a particular kind: reforms took two steps forward, and then one step—or sometimes three steps—back."
(October 31) 1961, Russia's de-Stalinisation program reached a climax when his body was removed from the mausoleum in Red Square and re-buried.
MOSCOW, Saturday, Nov. 11 (Reuters) -- The "Hero City" of Stalingrad has been renamed Volgograd, the Soviet Communist party newspaper Pravda reported today.
The 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union was held during the period 14–25 February 1956. It is known especially for First Secretary Nikita Khrushchev's "Secret Speech", which denounced the personality cult and dictatorship of Joseph Stalin.Delegates at this Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union were given no advance warning of what to expect. Indeed, proceedings were opened by First Secretary Khruschev's call for all to stand in memory of the Communist leaders who had died since the previous Congress, in which he mentioned Stalin in the same breath as Klement Gottwald. Hints of a new direction only came out gradually over the next ten days, which had the effect of leaving those present highly perplexed. The Polish communist leader Bolesław Bierut died in Moscow under mysterious circumstances shortly after attending the 20th Congress.
The congress elected the 20th Central Committee.De-Stalinization in Romania
The De-Stalinization in Romania was a process of removing Stalinist policies and Stalin's cult of personality between 1959 and 1965. Implemented by Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej, it included the marginalization of Stalinists, such as Ana Pauker and a large-scale amnesty of thousands of political prisoners. A number of political and cultural figures from the 19th century fight for independence were rehabilitated and writers formerly considered "bourgeois decadent" (like Tudor Arghezi) were allowed to publish again. It marked the beginning of a period of liberalization in Communist Romania, which ended in 1971 with the July Theses returning the country to Stalinism.Donetsk Oblast
The Donetsk Oblast (Ukrainian: Доне́цька о́бласть, translit. Donets'ka oblast'; Russian: Доне́цкая о́бласть, tr. Donetskaya oblast', IPA: [dɐˈnʲɛtskəjə ˈobɫəsʲtʲ]), also referred to as Donechyna (Ukrainian: Донеччина, translit. Donechchyna; Russian: Донетчина, tr. Donetchina; literally: Donetsia), is an oblast (province) of eastern Ukraine. It is the most populated oblast, with around 4.5 million residents. Its administrative center is Donetsk; however, its Regional State Administration was temporarily relocated to Mariupol because of the ongoing crisis in Donetsk. Historically, the region is an important part of the Donbas region. Until November 1961, it bore the name Stalino Oblast as Donetsk was then named "Stalino", in honour of Joseph Stalin. As part of the De-Stalinization process, it was renamed as its administrative center after Siversky Donets, the main artery of East Ukraine.
The oblast is known for its urban sprawl of Donetsk-Makiivka and Horlivka-Yenakieve and it is often associated with coal mining industry.
On April 7, 2014, following the annexation of Crimea by Russia, Russian-backed militants occupying the Donetsk Oblast administrative building declared independence from Ukraine and staged an unrecognized referendum on separating from Ukraine on 11 May 2014. Subsequently, the War in Donbass started. After Donetsk fell to the insurgents, the Donetsk Oblast administration was relocated to Mariupol and later to Kramatorsk.Dushanbe
Dushanbe (Tajik: Душанбе, IPA: [duʃænˈbe]) is the capital and largest city of Tajikistan. Dushanbe means Monday in the Tajik language, the local language is Parya language. It was named this way because it grew from a village that originally had a popular market on Mondays. As of 2016, Dushanbe had a population of 802,700.
Historically a small village, Dushanbe was made the capital of the Tajik Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic in 1924. Until 1929, the city was known in Russian as Dyushambe (Russian: Дюшамбе, Dyushambe), and from 1929 to 1961 as Stalinabad (Tajik: Сталинобод, Stalinobod) which was named after Joseph Stalin.Eisenhüttenstadt
Eisenhüttenstadt (literally "ironworks city" in German; [ʔaɪzn̩ˈhʏtn̩ʃtat] (listen)) is a town in the Oder-Spree district of the state of Brandenburg, Germany, on the border with Poland.History of Czechoslovakia (1948–89)
From the Communist coup d'état in February 1948 to the Velvet Revolution in 1989, Czechoslovakia was ruled by the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia (Czech: Komunistická strana Československa, KSČ). The country belonged to the Eastern Bloc and was a member of the Warsaw Pact and of Comecon. During the era of Communist Party rule, thousands of Czechoslovaks faced political persecution for various offences, such as trying to emigrate across the Iron Curtain.
The 1993 Act on Lawlessness of the Communist Regime and on Resistance Against It determined that the communist government was illegal and that the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia was a criminal organisation.Ismoil Somoni Peak
Ismoil Somoni Peak (Tajik: Қуллаи Исмоили Сомонӣ, Qulla-i Ismō‘il-i Sōmōnî/Qullaji Ismojili Somonī; Persian: قلّهٔ اسماعیل سامانی; Russian: Пик Исмои́ла Сомони́, tr. Pik Ismoíla Somoní) is the highest mountain in Tajikistan. It was within the territory of the former Russian Empire and the former Soviet Union, and was the highest mountain in the Soviet Union before the area became independent as Tajikistan. The mountain is named after Ismail Samani, a ruler of the Samanid dynasty.Khrushchev Thaw
The Khrushchev Thaw (or Khrushchev's Thaw; Russian: хрущёвская о́ттепель, tr. khrushchovskaya ottepel, IPA: [xrʊˈɕːɵfskəjə ˈotʲ:ɪpʲɪlʲ] or simply ottepel) refers to the period from the early 1950s to the early 1960s when repression and censorship in the Soviet Union were relaxed, and millions of Soviet political prisoners were released from Gulag labor camps due to Nikita Khrushchev's policies of de-Stalinization and peaceful coexistence with other nations.
The Thaw became possible after the death of Joseph Stalin in March 1953. First Secretary Khrushchev denounced former General Secretary Stalin in "The Secret Speech" at the 20th Congress of the Communist Party, then ousted the pro-Stalinists during his power struggle in the Kremlin. The term was coined after Ilya Ehrenburg's 1954 novel The Thaw ("Оттепель"), sensational for its time. The Khrushchev Thaw was highlighted by Khrushchev's 1954 visit to Beijing, People's Republic of China, his 1955 visit to Belgrade, Yugoslavia (with whom relations had soured since the Tito–Stalin Split in 1948), and his subsequent meeting with Dwight Eisenhower later that year, culminating in Khrushchev's 1959 visit to the United States.
The Thaw initiated irreversible transformation of the entire Soviet society by opening up for some economic reforms and international trade, educational and cultural contacts, festivals, books by foreign authors, foreign movies, art shows, popular music, dances and new fashions, and massive involvement in international sport competitions. Although the power struggle between pro-Khrushchev and pro-Stalinists never stopped, it eventually weakened the Soviet Communist Party.
The Thaw allowed some freedom of information in the media, arts, and culture; international festivals; foreign films; uncensored books; and new forms of entertainment on the emerging national TV, ranging from massive parades and celebrations to popular music and variety shows, satire and comedies, and all-star shows like Goluboy Ogonyok. Such political and cultural updates all together helped liberate the minds of millions and changed public consciousness of several generations of people in the Soviet Union.The Thaw was reverted shortly after Khrushchev was succeeded by Leonid Brezhnev, as he reversed the liberalization of the union, albeit going against his endorsement of the Thaw during the Khrushchev era.Kuçovë
Kuçovë (definite Albanian form: Kuçova) is a municipality in lower-central Albania. It was formed at the 2015 local government reform by the merger of the former municipalities Kozare, Kuçovë, Lumas and Perondi, that became municipal units. The seat of the municipality is the town Kuçovë. The total population is 31,262 (2011 census), in a total area of 160.23 km2. The population of the former municipality at the 2011 census was 12,654.Novomoskovsk, Russia
Novomoskovsk (Russian: Новомоско́вск) is a city and the administrative center of Novomoskovsky District in Tula Oblast, Russia, located at the source of the Don and Shat Rivers. Population: 131,386 (2010 Census); 134,081 (2002 Census); 146,302 (1989 Census); 143,000 (1974); 107,000 (1959); 76,000 (1939).Polish October
Polish October, also known as October 1956, Polish thaw, or Gomułka's thaw, marked a change in the politics of Poland in the second half of 1956. Some social scientists term it the Polish October Revolution, which, while less dramatic than the Hungarian Revolution of 1956, may have had an even deeper impact on the Eastern Bloc and on the Soviet Union's relationship to its satellite states in Central Europe.For the People's Republic of Poland, 1956 was a year of transition. The international situation significantly weakened the hard-line Stalinist faction in Poland; Polish communist leader Bolesław Bierut died in March; it was three years since Stalin had died and his successor at the Soviet Union's helm, Nikita Khrushchev, denounced him in February. Protests by workers in June in Poznań had highlighted the people's dissatisfaction with their situation. In October, the events set in motion resulted in the rise in power of the reformers' faction, led by Władysław Gomułka. After brief, but tense, negotiations, the Soviets gave permission for Gomułka to stay in control and made several other concessions resulting in greater autonomy for the Polish government. For Polish citizens this meant a temporary liberalization. Eventually though, hopes for full liberalization were proven false, as Gomułka's regime became more oppressive. Nonetheless, the era of Stalinization in Poland had ended.Political rehabilitation
Political rehabilitation is the process by which a member of a political organization or government who has fallen into disgrace is restored to public life. The term is usually applied to leaders or other prominent individuals who regain their prominence after a period in which they have no influence or standing. Historically, the concept is usually associated with Communist states and parties where, as a result of shifting political lines often as part of a power struggle, leading members of the Communist Party find themselves on the losing side of a political conflict and out of favour, often to the point of being denounced or even imprisoned.
These individuals may be rehabilitated either as a result of capitulating to the dominant political line and renouncing their former beliefs or allegiances to disgraced leaders, or they may be rehabilitated as a result of a change in the political leadership of the party, either a change in personnel or a change in political line, so that the views or associations which caused the individual, or group of individuals, to fall into disgrace are viewed more sympathetically.Well known figures who have been rehabilitated include Deng Xiaoping who fell into disgrace during the Cultural Revolution for being a "third roader" but was rehabilitated subsequently and became paramount leader of the People's Republic of China; and Russia's last Tsar, Nicholas II, and his family, who were all shot dead by Bolshevik revolutionaries in July, 1918, but were rehabilitated by the Russian Supreme Court on 1 October 2008.Pospelov Commission
Pospelov Commission was a commission of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union Presidium headed by Pyotr Pospelov whose findings had laid the basis and the contents of Nikita Khrushchev's "secret speech" On the Personality Cult and its Consequences. According to Khrushchev's speech, "the commission was instructed to inquire into how it was possible to carry out massive repressions against the members and candidate members of the Party elected at the 17th Congress of the All-Union Communist Party".
The commission was set by the Presidium on December 31, 1955. In addition to its chairman Pospelov, it included Central Committee secretary Averky Aristov, All-Union Central Council of Trade Unions chairman Nikolai Shvernik and deputy chairman of the Party Control Committee P.T. Komarov. The report of the commission was presented to the Presidium on February 9, 1956. The report caused heated controversy and split of opinions as to further actions.Rehabilitation (Soviet)
Rehabilitation (Russian: реабилитация, transliterated in English as reabilitatsiya or academically rendered as reabilitacija) was a term used in the context of the former Soviet Union, and the Post-Soviet states. Beginning after the death of Stalin in 1953, the government undertook the political and social restoration, or political rehabilitation, of persons who had been repressed and criminally prosecuted without due basis. It restored the person to the state of acquittal. In many cases, rehabilitation was posthumous, as thousands of victims had been executed or died in labor camps.
The government also rehabilitated several minority populations which it had relocated under Stalin, and allowed them to return to former territories and in some cases restored their autonomy in those regions.Romanian Communist Party
The Romanian Communist Party (Romanian: Partidul Comunist Român, PCR) was a communist party in Romania. Successor to the pro-Bolshevik wing of the Socialist Party of Romania, it gave ideological endorsement to communist revolution and the disestablishment of the Kingdom of Romania. The PCR was a minor and illegal grouping for much of the interwar period, and submitted to direct Comintern control. During the 1930s, most of its activists were imprisoned or took refuge in the Soviet Union, which led to the creation of separate and competing factions until the 1950s. The Communist Party emerged as a powerful actor on the Romanian political scene in August 1944, when it became involved in the royal coup that toppled the pro-Nazi government of Ion Antonescu. With support from Soviet occupation forces, the PCR was able to force King Michael I into exile, and establish undisguised Communist rule in 1948.
The party operated under the title of Romanian Workers' Party from 1948 until 1965 when it was officially renamed by Nicolae Ceaușescu who had just been elected secretary general. From 1953 until 1989, it was for all intents and purposes the only legally permitted party in the country.
In 1947, the Communist Party absorbed much of the Social Democratic Party, while attracting various new members. In the early 1950s, the PCR's dominant wing around Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej, with support from Joseph Stalin, defeated all the other factions and achieved full control over the party and country. After 1953, the Romanian Communists gradually theorized a "national path" to Communism. At the same time, however, the party delayed the time to join its Warsaw Pact brethren in de-Stalinization. The PCR's nationalist and national communist stance was continued under the leadership of Nicolae Ceaușescu. Following an episode of liberalization in the late 1960s, Ceaușescu again adopted a hard line, and imposed the "July Theses", re-Stalinizing the party's rule by intensifying the spreading of communist ideology in Romanian society and at the same time consolidating Ceaușescu's grip on power. Over the years, the PCR massively and artificially increased in size, becoming entirely submitted to Ceaușescu's will. From the 1960s onward, it had a reputation for being somewhat more independent of the Soviet Union than its brethren in the Warsaw Pact. However, at the same time it became one of the most (and according to some accounts, the most) hardline parties in the Soviet bloc. It collapsed in 1989 in the wake of the Romanian Revolution.
The PCR coordinated several organizations during its existence, including the Union of Communist Youth, and organized training for its cadres at the Ștefan Gheorghiu Academy. In addition to Scînteia, its official platform and main newspaper between 1931 and 1989, the Communist Party issued several local and national publications at various points in its history (including, after 1944, România Liberă).Shvernik Commission
Shvernik Commission (Shvernik's Commission, Russian: комиссия Шверника) was an informal name of the commission of the CPSU Central Committee Presidium headed by Nikolay Shvernik for the investigation of political repression in the Soviet Union during the period of Stalin. Other members were Alexander Shelepin, Zinovy Serdyuk, Roman Rudenko, Olga Shatunovskaya, N. Mironov, and Vladimir Semichastny.
It was the second major commission of the kind. (The first one was the commission headed by Vyacheslav Molotov.) The commission worked during 1961-1963 and produced about 200 pages of two reports, which detailed the mechanism of falsification of the show trials against Bukharin, Zinoviev, Tukhachevsky and many others. The commission based its findings in large part on eyewitness testimonies of former NKVD workers and victims of repressions, and on many documents. The commission recommended to rehabilitate every accused with exception of Karl Radek and Genrikh Yagoda, because Radek's materials required some further checking, and Yagoda was a criminal and one of the falsifiers of the trials (though most of the charges against him had to be dropped too, he wasn't a "spy", etc.). The commission stated:
Stalin committed a very grave crime against the Communist party, the socialist state, Soviet people and worldwide revolutionary movement... Together with Stalin, the responsibility for the abuse of law, mass unwarranted repressions and death of many thousands of wholly innocent people also lies on Molotov, Kaganovich, Malenkov...Socialist realism in Poland
Socialist realism in Poland (Polish: socrealizm) was a social, political, and esthetic doctrine enforced by the pro-Soviet communist government in the process of Stalinization of the postwar People's Republic of Poland. The official policy was introduced in 1949 by a decree of the Polish United Workers' Party minister (later, Minister of Culture and Art) Włodzimierz Sokorski. As in all Soviet-dominated Eastern Bloc countries, Socialist realism became the main instrument of political control in the building of totalitarianism in Poland. However, the trend has never become truly dominant. Following Stalin's death on March 5, 1953, and the subsequent De-Stalinization of all People's Republics, Polish artists, writers and architects started abandoning it around 1955. The De-Stalinization process peaked during the Polish October.Stalin's cult of personality
Joseph Stalin's cult of personality became a prominent part of Soviet culture in December 1929, after a lavish celebration for Stalin's 50th birthday. For the rest of Stalin's rule, the Soviet press presented Stalin as an all-powerful, all-knowing leader, and Stalin's name and image became omnipresent. From 1936 the Soviet journalism started to refer to Joseph Stalin as the Father of Nations.ZiL
AMO ZiL, known fully as the Public Joint-Stock Company – Likhachov Plant (Russian: Публичное акционерное общество – Завод имени Лихачёва, translit. Publichnoye aktsionernoye obshchestvo – Zavod imeni Likhachyova) and more commonly called ZiL (Russian: ЗиЛ), was a major Russian automobile, truck, military vehicle, and heavy equipment manufacturer that was based in Moscow, Russia.
The last ZiL vehicle was assembled in 2012. The company continues to exist only as real-estate development site, on which a new urban district will be built by the LSR Group construction company.