Soviet Communism: Nikita Khrushchev--Mindset

Figure 1.--Nikita Khrushchev in sharp contrast to Stalin and other dictators, liked people and to interact with them. Here he is seen not just with a child but hugging him. This is something you never saw with Stalin and Hitler. Bioth lkike to photiograophed with children, but you never saw an image like this. He is smiling clearly enjoying the contact with ordinary Soviet citizens. The photograph was taken somewhere in the Soviet Union during 1963. The elderly man's ethnic dress may be a clue.

Krushchev's son Sergei who moved to the west painted a benign portrait of his father. Other biographers are less kind. Most paint a man whose crass buffonery often hid a ruthless core. [Montefiore] Stalin treated him as a country bumkin, but a loyal one. [Khriuschec, 1970] Khrushchev was a true believer in Communism, but over time came to question Stalin's judgment, at least to himself. Like many of his generation, the Revolution had provided opportunities that were incoceiveable under the Tsarist regime. He was not even able to continue his education beyond primary school before the Revolution. He thus was convinced that the Communist system was an undisputable force for good and as Marx depicted it a scientifically based system that if properly managed would out produce the West and create a utopia era of prosperity. he was perplexed when confronted with the Soviet Union's deep seated economic problems. But he remained a true believer. And of course like the Spanish inqusitors, possession of the absolute truth justified extremne cruelty and brutality. Historians argue about Hhrishchev's role in Stalin's attrocities. And one has to ask just what an individual could do when questioning could lead to an NKVD bullet in the head or the Gulag and when a belief in Communism justfied the harshest methods. Now while this all has generated debates among historians, we think one assessment is less controversial. Hjrushchev did not have Stalin's dark heart. He did bot believe in terror as an instrument of governence or the murder and incarceration of millions of innocent souls. This shows up in the photographic record in his interactions with people, especially children. Now it is not unusual for dictators to be photographed with children. There are thousands of images of Hitler with children. And many of Stalin with children. But Khrushchev was not just photographed with children. Krushchev embraced children in a way that you never see Hitler, Stalin, and other dictators.


Montefiore, Simon Sebag. Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar (Knopf), 785p.


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Created: 7:33 PM 10/26/2016
Last updated: 7:33 PM 10/26/2016