By William D. Prigge
The 1959 purge of the Latvian nationwide communists has lengthy been forged in black-and-white phrases: Russification and resistance; victimizers and sufferers. traditional knowledge holds that Nikita Khrushchev was once in the back of the purge. finally, he was once the Soviet most advantageous; he stopped in Riga quite a few weeks sooner than; even the major sufferer of the purge, Eduards Berklavs, classified Khrushchev the wrongdoer. For the 1st time, William D. Prigge’s penetrating research demanding situations this view and untangles the intricacies of Soviet center-periphery family like a political mystery. With each one new bankruptcy, a more true knowing of occasions comes into sharper concentration - extra advanced and engaging than may well ever be imagined. finally, the reverberations are felt all of the option to the Kremlin and weaken what Khrushchev proposal was once his personal company footing. For the coed of Soviet and Latvian historical past alike, this quantity presents greater than simply the tale of a purge - it's a specified photograph into the political machinations of the Soviet Union and one in every of its republics.
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Additional resources for Bearslayers: The Rise and Fall of the Latvian National Communist (American University Studies, Series X: Political Science, Volume 71)
Not wanting to lose such a valuable worker, Berklavs immediately objected, arguing that the motion had not been handled correctly. Further, Berklavs maintained that the congress had already approved Dzerve for work in the Komsomol. Later that evening, Lebedev called Berklavs to his office. ,” Lebedev demanded. Berklavs understood, but pretended otherwise: If you mean that our differences on the university Komsorg [Komsomol Organization] mean opposing the Party, then I must tell you I was not speaking against the Party, but objecting to only one paid Party worker’s viewpoint.
East Germany was the pretext for arresting Beria, and Khrushchev did act out of fear, but the main source of Khrushchev’s apprehension lay in the Baltic republics, Ukraine, and Belorussia. While not as sensational as the East German uprising, the threat posed by the republican policy was more real and immediate. Berklavs, the leading national communist in Latvia in 1953, conceded: “We were one hundred percent for Beria’s decision. 84 If Khrushchev did not act quickly, he stood to lose considerable support and risked falling victim to Beria.
64 Nevertheless, Beria was the first in that position to have an independent power base (something lacking with former police chiefs, Felix Dzerzhinskii, Genrikh Iagoda, and Ezhov). 65 Meanwhile, Beria began to develop his base to such a degree that in later years, even Stalin would have difficulty removing him, despite repeated attempts. A prime example is the Mingrelian case of 1951–52. According to former high-ranking NKVD officer Pavel Sudoplatov, the purge was orchestrated by Stalin and aimed directly at Beria.