Crashing the Anti-Party

Nikita Khrushchev

A general theme in transitions of power is this, “out with the old, in with the new.” Following his ascension to First Secretary, Nikita Khrushchev pursued a policy of De-Stalinization and decentralization. These policies bolstered Khrushchev’s position within the party as well as dismantled Stalin’s lasting influence in Soviet politics. One controversial move by Khrushchev was the establishment of 107 regional economic councils, sovnarkhozy, corresponding to the territorial divisions of oblasts and autonomous republics (The Anti Party Group). Freeze points out, “The underlying idea was to bring decision-making closer to the enterprise to ensure better management and greater productivity” (p. 422).

Good intentions aside, this policy disgruntled many within the Presidium, which Freeze describes as “…represented old party elites and entrenched officialdom in Moscow” (p. 422). Soon, a majority faction formed within the Presidium and attempted to vote Khrushchev out of power (Freeze, p. 422). This faction included many powerful figures, such as Viacheslav Molotov, former Foreign Minister and no friend of Khrushchev, Lazar Kaganovich and Georgii Malenkov, former Premier after Stalin (Freeze, p. 422).  Khrushchev however called for a vote within the Central Committee, which he insisted was capable of removing him from office (Freeze, p. 422). With the support of Minister of Defense, Georgii Zhukov, members of the Central Committee were escorted to Moscow by military transports (The Anti Party Group).  The vote turned into a denouncement of Khrushchev’s opponents, labeling them as “the anti-party group” (Freeze, p. 422). Conspirators were forced to resign and assumed minor roles away from Moscow (The Anti Party Group). For example, Molotov was assigned as ambassador to Mongolia.

What interested me most about this event was the fate of loyal Zhukov. Zhukov was made a full member of the Presidium in mid-1957 (The Anti Party Group). However, in October, Zhukov was removed from office and accused of starting a “cult of Comrade G. K. Zhukov” (Freeze, p. 423). Despite his loyal and service to his country, Zhukov was quickly removed from the spotlight.

Sources:

Freeze, Gregory. Russia a History. 3rd edition. Oxford University Press. 2009.

Siegelbaum, Lewis. The Anti Party Group. Seventeen Moments in Soviet History. http://soviethistory.msu.edu/1956-2/the-anti-party-group/

Image Source:

Nikita Khrushchev: 1957. Time Inc. http://content.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,2019712_2019694_2019593,00.html

 

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7 thoughts on “Crashing the Anti-Party

  1. Any time new leadership with new ideas comes up in a country there are bound to be issues with the old guard leadership, especially in a country like the Soviet Union. Zhukov’s dismissal has always interested me. Maybe Khrushchev wanted to eliminate a face of one of World War II’s greatest heroes and his popularity and saw him as a threat?

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  2. “Out with the old, in with the new” is a often successful progressive theme in the transition of power within a state. Although the Russian people are a unique breed, who have been through a lot and have a brutal history. The way Krushchev policy was implemented and how it was taken by the Russian people is very interesting. Great post!

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  3. Great post! It was very interesting and informative. I like how you addressed the transition of power and what occurred in the Soviet Union because it is very important to Soviet history.

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  4. Spencer, your post is very interesting and well written. This rise and fall of Zhukov, going from loyal to outcasted sparked thoughts for me about how certain members of congress have been known to be loyal to the Republican party, but have been splitting with Trump on many issues in terms of policy. I wonder who people will write about in the future from our generation.

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  5. It’s honestly really crazy to see this process take place because there were so many mixed feelings about the future of the Soviet Union, especially after Stalin’s death. I feel like there’s a lot of the same repetitive themes within the Soviet Union’s policy reforms. Though they were positively deemed, it created a split government because the frustration that was being caused throughout the Russian government. I enjoyed your post!

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  6. The fates of the “anti-Party” group remind us how much things did indeed change with Stalin’s death. Demoting Zhukov, and sending Molotov off to be the Mongolian ambassador certainly signaled political defeat for them, but it also indicated that the leadership had figured out a bloodless way to handle the opposition. This also makes Khrushchev’s eventual ouster possible.

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  7. Nice post! I liked the information you gave, very thurough while not being lengthy. This article pointed out a few trends that I am seeing throughout Russian history. Any group that is formed to gain traction against the majority power usually winds up with people within the organization tearing it down. They try to take the power from the one in charge and instead make a whole mess of things, leaving the group weak and not as influential. I think this story plays into that perfectly.

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