Stalin and the Struggle for
"Famous People of the Land of Soviets"
By Vasilii Efanov
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During the War
1. Toward the end of the Second World War Stalin and his supporters
on the Politburo made one more attempt to get the Bolshevik Party out of
direct control over the Soviet government. Here is how Yuri Zhukov describes
In January 1944 . . . for the first time during the war there was a
joint convocation of both the [Central Committee] Plenum and a session
of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR. Molotov and Malenkov prepared a draft
of a Central Committee decree according to which the Party would be
legally distanced from power. It would retain only agitation and
propaganda; no one would deprive it of these normal party matters, and
participation in the selection of cadres, which was also completely
natural. But it simply forbade the Party from interfering in
economics and the working of the organs of the state. Stalin read
the draft, changed six words in it, and wrote "Agreed" on it. What
happened next remains a mystery. . . .
. . . This was a new attempt to lead the Party into the State stable,
retaining for it only those functions it really fulfilled during the
war. The draft has five signatures: Molotov, Malenkov, Stalin,
Khrushchev, Andreev. There was no stenographic record, and we can only
guess how others voted. Alas, even the all-powerful State Committee for
Defense, with all four members in the Politburo of the Central
Committee, could not shatter the old order of things. This proves yet
one more time that Stalin never had the power that both anti-Stalinists
and Stalinists attribute to him. (Zhukov, Kul'tovaia; emphasis
2. We do not know how this "distancing" of the Party from economics
and the state was to have been effected. Presumably, though, some other
method of staffing the state organs would have been envisaged. Would this
have meant a return to elections as specified in the 1936 Constitution?
3. Whatever the answers to these questions, it seems likely that the
Central Committee, made up largely of Party First Secretaries, once again
rebuffed the Stalin leadership's plans for fundamental change in the Soviet
system. In his "Secret Speech" Khrushchev denied that any such Plenum had
taken place at all! Since most of the C.C. members in the audience had to
have known this was a lie, it may be that the purpose of this lie was to
tacitly signal them that this dangerous move against their power was now
After the War
The 1947 Draft of the Party
Beria's Moves towards
Deaths of Stalin and
Beria . . . and Others?
Conclusions and Future