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Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev (April 15, 1894 – September 11, 1992) was the first Premier of the New Russian Empire He served as First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1945 to 1956, being the de facto leader of the USSR. Khrushchev is famous for the de-Stalinization and westernization of the Soviet Union, for backing the progress of the IRSA, several liberal reforms in areas of domestic policy and finally the creation of the New Russian Empire. Khrushchev resigned in 1975, electing the prominent Leonid Brezhnev as his successor in the upcoming election. He remained as an advisor to the party until his death.
Khrushchev was born in the Russian village of Kalinovka in 1894, close to the present-day border between Russia and Ukraine. He was employed as a metalworker in his youth, and during the Russian Civil War was a political commissar and doctor. Although on an ideological basis he disagreed with the Bolsheviks, he believed a constitutional monarchy would best support the country, therefore he fought with gusto against the oppressive Tsardom. With the help of Lazar Kaganovich, he worked his way up the Soviet hierarchy. He was a close confidant of Lenin in the last years of his life, and good friends with Stalin and Trotsky. Once Stalin had taken power however, Khrushchev became a target of the purges, having four confirmed assassination attempts on him. Stalin eventually gave up and in 1939, he sent him to govern Kazakhstan, and he enacted several liberal reforms, such as allowing foreign (government approved and selected) radio into the state. During what was known in the Soviet Union as the Great Patriotic War (Eastern Front of World War II), Khrushchev was military commander, serving in first Stalingrad, then Seelow and finally Changchun as commander. Khrushchev was present at the bloody defense of Stalingrad and the final battle at the Japanese forward base in Changchun, facts he took great pride in throughout his life. After Changchun ended he was recalled to Moscow by new Premier Malenkov to serve as Transport Minister.
In the next few weeks suspicions surrounding Stalin's death arose, and Kaganovich convinced Khrushchev to investigate. Teaming with Lavrentiy Beria and the NKVD, Khrushchev performed an autopsy on Stalin, revealing traces of cyanide. Malenkov was arrested and Khrushchev was declared leader on the 18th December, 1945. He soon addressed the nation and the world of Stalin's evil, and started perestroika and glasnost reforms. He made alliances with the west and helped put down socialism in other nations. After 10 years he had managed to rebuild Russia, and then restarted his dream of a multiparty constitutional monarchy in 1956. He since founded the Russian Capitalist Party, and bolstered the growth of Russia to a superpower.
He was seen as a hero internationally, and is highly regarded in both socialist and capitalist circles. He has been involved with some controversy, including his marriage to the 17 year old American Sophie Walsh when he was in his late fifties, appointing Leonid Brezhnev as his successor, who was later found out to be a paedophile (amongst other offences) and also backing the suppression of Irish rebels attacking Lada factories. He was ranked as the greatest ruler of the 20th century in 2001, ahead of Winston Churchill, and has been given more honours than any one man in the last 100 years. A city in Kazakhstan is named after him, Khrushcheviye (OTL Astana) for his benevolent rule during the inter-war years.
Birth and Early YearsNikita was born from a relatively well-to-do peasant family in the small village of Kalinovka. His father, Sergei Khrushchev, had earned enough money to buy a plot for a farm by doing a variety of work in his youth such as mining or carpentry. His mother Ksenia was a seamstress, and Khrushchev wrote in his memoirs that '(she) always made sure that I would be the best dressed in school, even if it meant using all her good silk.' Khrushchev had a younger sister, Irina, who ended up marrying Khrushchev's best friend Lazar Kaganovich. At the local village school he was reported as a 'brilliant intellectual, but to arrogant for his own good.' He received education from this school for only one year before moving to the small school set up by Lydia Shevchenko, a woman who would prove influential to Khrushchev and his supported ideology.
Shevchenko was a free-spirited person according to Khrushchev, a fundamental capitalist and democrat. She and Khrushchev would often get into debates over the Tsar and Russia, and she also smuggled banned books to Khrushchev after class. Much of Khrushchev's rhetoric was derived from her. Khrushchev continued his education with her until the age of 10, then he moved to St Petersburg with his uncle. His relationship with Shevchenko has always been controversial, with some historians theorizing she molested Khrushchev for a brief time, explaining that this trauma affected his future relationships, including his marriage. Khrushchev himself admitted in 1976 that he and Shevchenko had a 'brief tryst', but refused to comment further.
Khrushchev lived with his uncle in Moscow to continue his education. He received high commendations from school, having a brilliant logical mind, with teachers saying he had political potential. In 1909 his uncle started teaching metalwork, and soon became his apprentice. He had affiliations with the Communists since 1909, and also collected money for the families of the victims of the Lena Massacre. He trained as a doctor at Moscow university while upholding his metalwork, leading to stress and sleep deprivation. Khrushchev wrote 'It was one of the hardest times of my life, I was stressed, angry and tired. I really must have been unpleasant.'
In 1914, Khrushchev's metal work job exempted him from conscription. He worked for a workshop that serviced several mines and he also participated in several strikes for fair wages and worker's rights. He became co-leader of the quasi-independent Worker's Union Party, along with his lover Yefrosinia Pisareva. They were engaged in 1915, but she died of typhus three months after. The party gained the attention of the prominent Lazar Kaganovich, who would later become Khrushchev's right hand man. Vladimir Lenin visited Khrushchev in 1914 at the suggestion of Kaganovich. Khrushchev wrote 'Although he stood a near foot below me, although he was quiet and calm and although his ideas of politics were fundamentally wrong he stood taller, more powerful and more correct than anyone I had ever met, and I am proud to have called him my friend.' Soon Khrushchev immersed the Union Party within the Bolsheviks and became one of Lenin's 'Inner Circle'.
When the Russian Civil War began in earnest, Khrushchev moved his family with his savings to a small city in Kazakhstan away from the fighting. 'I had already lost Yefrosinia, I wasn't going to lose my family as well,' he wrote. Lenin brought Khrushchev to become one of his personal advisors, and this is where he met Josef Stalin. They became fast friends, with Khrushchev saying 'He was much like (Lenin), but a bit more vicious. He had a great sense of humour, and was a masterful painter. He held a great sadness with him. His poor wife died years before of typhus, much like mine. He doesn't seem to have moved on (...) I do believe (she) was the only person he ever loved, truly.' Khrushchev was also good friends with Leon Trotsky, founder of the Red Army. '(He) really was truly something special; he was the only one of any of them who resembled any sort of height, though he still was 7 inches shorter than I was. He spoke several languages and was a really nice person. I was truly saddened when I heard of his death.'Khrushchev was very well known within the party, when compared with his contemporaries he was at least half their age, but was already one of the highest ranking members of the party. Standing at 6 foot 4 inches tall, with an athletic build and rugged features, he was an attractive young man. Lenin wrote in 1916 '(Khrushchev) was, to be frank, a man-whore. He must have had 200 partners just in 1915! He slept with everything that moved, be she married, imperialist, a spy, he didn't care!' In 1919 he is thought to have slept with Stalin's second wife 17 times, though Khrushchev himself said in 1982 'Oh please don't be stupid. It only happened 13 times!'
After Lenin had won the war, Khrushchev returned to his workshop and also worked as a doctor. He became a commissar in 1920, being well known for his emphatic speeches supporting democracy and freedom. In Lenin's final years, Khrushchev became his confidant, with Lenin sometimes refusing everyone except him to his bedside. It is reported that Lenin offered Khrushchev the premiership, but Khrushchev denied this.
Military commander and Party official
After Lenin's death in 1924, Khrushchev and Kaganovich decided to continue their menial jobs and not get involved in the upcoming power struggle. Khrushchev entered the Red Army as a Lieutenant-General, and was well respected by the troops under his command. He never publicly commented on his views on the power struggle between Stalin or Trotsky. Kaganovich eventually sided with Stalin, and appointed Khrushchev as a 'protégé' of sorts. Soon Khrushchev had a very high ranking in the new party, and Stalin initially trusted him. Khrushchev had a generous salary, moderate power and a relaxed lifestyle. However this was all about to change.
Target of the Purges
In 1929, Khrushchev drove Trotsky to the Ukraine for a safe passage away from the USSR when he was expelled. 'I saw (him) off at Kiev (...) He smiled weakly, and shook my hand. The last thing he said to me was "Have fun Nikita. But not too much." And like that he was gone. It was a pity.' When Khrushchev returned he soon became a target for the purges. Stalin believed Khrushchev was gaining too much power. Kaganovich managed to be absolved from any attacks but Khrushchev is believed to have had attempts on his life at least 4 times. He commented later that he was 'saddened' by them but 'unsurprised'.
The first attempt on his life was as early as 1932, when traveling to Kazakhstan to visit his family. His car was attacked by bandits, originally thought to be Turkestani rebels, were later found to be Stalin's agents. Khrushchev survived unharmed and all four of the bandits were killed by his guards.
The second was in 1933 when he was in Moscow, his drink was spiked. However he passed his drink on toward a small party official who died minutes later. Khrushchev was shocked and considered it a Nazi plot at first 'I thought it would have been Hitler, well maybe not Hitler, but the Germans certainly. Oh how naive I was!' he wrote in his memoirs.The third was in 1936 when Khrushchev was inspecting T-26 tanks in Leningrad. While driving the tank the engine malfunctioned. He dismounted and called for help. As he was leaving toward the forward base the tank exploded, killing three engineers and nine guards. Khrushchev was now convinced he was a target of the purges, and took several measures to protect himself, including hiring an extra two guards and arming himself with a Tokarev TT-30 pistol.
The final (confirmed) attempt was when he was sleeping in his dacha in early 1939. A man crept into hs room from the ceiling, preparing to shoot him and frame it as suicide. However Khrushchev was awake and shot the man in the leg. He asked who he worked for but he bit down on a cyanide pill and died. Khrushchev was shocked and decided to confront Stalin directly. Stalin dodged any questions and instead handed the power over Kazakhstan to Khrushchev.
Why Stalin had an obsession with killing Khrushchev is unknown. Khrushchev put it down to '(the fact) he got wind of the fact I had slept with his wife several times. You may think it was an over-reaction, but he was that sort'. Khrushchev ruled over Kazakhstan for two years, enacting an several liberal reforms. For example he allowed the BBC world service and US radio into the nation (although all news was screened and certain things were cut). He was well regarded in Kazakhstan, so much so he had a city named after him when it gained independence.
World War 2During WWII Khrushchev was one of the main generals, often acting as an intermediary between Stalin and the lower ranks. In Stalingrad however the majority of the generals had been killed, so Khrushchev took direct command of the forces in the city. Major-General Nikita Dragovich was the only other leader available, and they both fought on the front line. Eventually Khrushchev was wounded by a sniper: 'I don't really remember what happened after that. I fell to the ground, and everything fuzzed out...I saw Dragovich running away before I passed out. I managed to see some troops getting massacred at the fountain, they would later play a vital role in taking back Stalingrad.' Khrushchev awoke to the eyes of Colonel Kravchenko, Dragovich's second in command. Kravchenko then dragged the wounded general to a hospital, and they soon became friends. 'I don't know why (Kravchenko) wasn't with his boss Dragovich. He had abandoned me at the square, and I presumed he had fled. (Kravchenko)'s bedside manner was excellent; he was funny, he was kind, he even read my favourite English bedtime stories, even if I had to write it out in Cyrillic so he could sound it out!' Once Khrushchev had healed, Kravchenko returned to front line duty with Dragovich, fighting most notably in Seelow. Khrushchev returned to Stalin and stayed in the back office for the majority of the war, until Changchun.
Battle of ChangchunAfter VE Day and Stalin's death, new Premier Georgy Malenkov ordered Russian/Mongol intervention in China, specifically Changchun. Malenkov appointed Khrushchev as the general in control of the advance into the city, and Dragovich was leading the charge. Khrushchev's tactics over encircling the Japanese outpost with Russian forces from the west and Sino-Mongol forces from the south proved very efficient, and soon the city was taken, with Kravchenko executing Hideki Tojo after storming the JEF HQ.
Transport Minister and Arrest of Malenkov
After the war had ended Dragovich, Kravchenko and Khrushchev were issued the Hero of the Soviet Union medals, in addition to many others. Malenkov appointed Khrushchev has his minister for transport. Khrushchev wrote 'I never really knew Malenkov. He was apparently Stalin's protégé. A committed Leninist, that's for sure(....)(Kaganovich) was the first to distrust him. And I owed him a favour, so I thought why not?' Kaganovich distrusted the new Premier greatly, and also distrusted the validity of Stalin's death, having known Stalin was in good health by the time of his death, and the quick dismissive attitude of Malenkov was shown when deciding on a new Premier. Kaganovich convinced Khrushchev and Lavrentiy Beria, head of the NKVD to investigate Stalin's death. 'I felt like Sherlock Holmes! It was a thrill, even if illegal.' Khrushchev wrote. Kaganovich commented in his diary 'Under Stalin's Wing' that '(Khrushchev) was a brilliant, mature statesman and politician, but during (the investigation) he turned into a little child! He even bought a detective coat from the US!'
Beria searched through Malenkov's house and found an order for cyanide. Kaganovich interrogated several witnesses at the dinner where Stalin died, including Mikhail Borodin and Alexander Kollontai. Eventually Kaganovich managed to gather enough evidence to show that Stalin had convulsed violently and frothed at the mouth, before falling on the floor and screaming in massive amounts of pain. This was contrary to the official report where Stalin merely fell back and died in peace. Kaganovich now asked Khrushchev to perform an autopsy on Stalin while he communicated his findings to Beria. Beria was found dead in his Moscow apartment, hanging from the ceiling in a presumed suicide. Khrushchev managed to perform the autopsy secretly however, and the traces of cyanide Kaganovich had predicted to be there were found. Kaganovich and Khrushchev brought this information to the police and Malenkov was arrested. It was decided by the politburo that Khrushchev would become the acting leader of the USSR, with Kaganovich acting leader of the military.
De Facto leader of the USSR
Khrushchev took his new responsibilities with zest, creating a rudimentary cabinet of his closest allies. His first concern was to return order to the USSR. The western provinces of Ukraine and Belarus had fallen into anarchy; the governor of Belarus, Roman Petrov, had been hanged outside of the federal building in Minsk and the federal building in Kiev was destroyed by terrorists. The Red Army had taken a beating from WWII, and also was mainly focused in 'peacekeeping' in East Asia, so Khrushchev implemented a 'Soviet Rebuilding Parade' to return law to and rebuild the USSR. They were often called the 'Red Women' as the group was almost exclusively filled by women. Also many liberated Jews who had been given asylum by Malenkov in Moscow volunteered, as their wealth had yet to be returned to them by the Germans due to logistical issues. The brigade was very similar to the regular army, but also was ordered to rebuild the cities along with keeping law.