Essay on Nikita Khrushchev

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Nikita Khrushchev rose to power after the death of Stalin. He was a leader who desperately worked for reform yet his reforms hardly ever accomplished their goals. He was a man who praised Stalin while he was alive but when Stalin died Khrushchev was the first to publicly denounce him. Khrushchev came to power in 1953 and stayed in power until 1964, when he was forced to resign.

	Stalin died without naming an heir, and none of his associates had the power to immediately claim supreme leadership. The deceased dictator’s colleagues initially tried to rule jointly through collective leadership, with Malenkov holding the top positions of prime minister and general secretary.	Lavrenti Beria took over Ministry of Interior and
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Malenkov’s post was then given to Bulganin who had little influence. Khrushchev had become the most important figure within the collective leadership. (A Country Study)

	At the Twentieth Party Congress, held February 1956, Khrushchev further advanced his position within the party by denouncing Stalin’s crimes in a "secret speech". Khrushchev revealed that Stalin had arbitrarily liquidated thousands of party members and military leaders and had established a cult of personality. With this speech Khrushchev not only distanced himself from Stalin, and Stalin’s close associates, Molotov and Malenkov, but also abjured the dictator’s policy of terror. As a result of the

de-Stalinization campaign launched by the speech, the release of political prisoners, which had begun in 1953, was stepped up and some of Stalin’s victims were posthumously rehabilitated. Khrushchev later intensified his campaign against Stalin at the Twenty-Second Party Congress in 1961, winning approval to remove Stalin’s body from the Lenin Mausoleum. De-Stalinization encouraged many in artistic and intellectual circles to speak out against the abuses of the former regime. Although Khrushchev’s tolerance of creative works wavered during his years of leadership, the new cultural period, known as the "thaw", represented a clear break with the repression of the arts under Stalin.

	After the Twentieth Party Congress,