On October 14, 1964, Nikita Khrushchev, First Secretary of this body and concurrently head of state, was dismissed at an extraordinary Plenum of the Central Committee of the CPSU. Someone calls it a palace coup, but rather, this event can be described as a triumph of justice. What were the real motives of those who overthrew the leader of the high-ranking party members from the Kremlin “Olympus” and the reasons that their actions were crowned with success?
As a matter of fact, there are several fairly widespread versions regarding the reasons that led to the fall of this odious ruler. Let’s consider briefly the main ones.
So, in accordance with the first, the whole point was that Leonid Brezhnev, who was striving for power, and his associates, with the support of the then leadership of the State Security Committee, started a conspiracy. Taking advantage of the absence of a relaxed Khrushchev, who decided at the wrong time for himself to rest in his beloved Pitsunda, the aforementioned plenum was held on the sly, at which, having voiced the accusations prepared in advance against the First, they forced him to resign.
This option is, to put it mildly, extremely simplified. In addition, the overthrow of Khrushchev for two of the most active participants in this case, the chairman of the KGB of the USSR Vladimir Semichastny and the secretary of the Central Committee of the CPSU Alexander Shelepin, ended, in fact, not with a takeoff, but with the ensuing (albeit not immediately) disgrace and removal from any real power as such. The rumors that subsequently spread that Brezhnev allegedly directly suggested Semichastny to physically eliminate Khrushchev seem to be a lie. To something, let alone to excessive bloodthirstiness, as his further very long reign showed, “dear Leonid Ilyich” was definitely not inclined.
The explanation based on the fact that Khrushchev allegedly was preparing a global purge of the leading cadres does not seem too realistic. Well, the apparatchiks from the Central Committee and the special services, fearing for their own future, decided to remove the First Secretary who had encroached on them before it was too late. It should be noted that Khrushchev’s personnel policy throughout his leadership of the USSR was, to put it mildly, confused, disorderly and completely unpredictable. And these are the mildest and most decent expressions that can be used to describe it.
The stability of the position in the state or party hierarchy was not guaranteed either by personal loyalty to Nikita Sergeevich or by the merits to him. The most striking example is the fate of Georgy Zhukov, with whose help Khrushchev first came to power, and then managed to keep it at least once – in 1957. So what? Marshal of Victory was an ungrateful protege, first pushed into humiliating posts, and then completely dismissed. So the various quirks and quirks of the First, which later received the derogatory characterization of “voluntarism”, were accustomed to the party-Soviet elite and tolerated them – up to a certain limit. Most likely, this is not the point.
Another interpretation of events seems much more plausible, according to which those who sent Khrushchev into political oblivion were guided by a completely correct and not just timely, but rather belated reason: “The country must be urgently saved!” And not only the country … Khrushchev put on dubious tracks in the USSR literally everything he could reach: the army, the police, agriculture, architecture, science. The Soviet Union, which after the Great Patriotic War abolished the rationing system earlier than Britain, was in danger of a real famine. Sometimes there was not even bread in stores, not to mention other products. If not for the 860 tons of gold spent on the purchase of grain, more than 20 years after the Victory in the USSR, cards would have to be introduced again, and this would hardly have saved the situation. Things have already come to popular riots – for the first time in Soviet history, Khrushchev ordered to open fire on an unarmed crowd in Novocherkassk.
In international politics, things were just as bad.
Two serious crises, Berlin and Caribbean, which almost ended in a new world war. The quarrel with China, the outlined split of the “socialist camp” into three groups hostile to each other. All these were the “merits” of Khrushchev, who imagined himself to be a great world-class politician. Well, not only the highest state orders of the USSR, executive cars and even airplanes, distributed by him to the foreign princelings, but also billions in gold and foreign currency in the form of “help for building socialism”, gave rise to bad debts, which neither the USSR nor Russia has ever received. were able to recover.
There is information about a voluminous secret report, which, if Khrushev refused to voluntarily resign at the next plenum of the CPSU Central Committee, would have been openly announced by Dmitry Polyansky, a member of his presidium. This document, created primarily by the efforts of the KGB officers, was filled with such “lethal” compromising evidence that, after flipping through the first few pages of it, Khrushchev surrendered. Moreover, he really had no one to rely on: by that time he had already betrayed everyone he could and pushed away from himself. I am personally very sorry that the case ended with this, and not with a public trial of the one who, denigrating the name of Stalin, derailed all the achievements of his era and took the first steps towards the subsequent death of the USSR.