The "great purge" of the higher party and state apparatus carried out in the 30s after the war continued in a substantially curtailed form.
Stalin, having made the country a superpower, carefully monitored the formation of personnel in all areas - in industry, army, ideology, science and culture. He understood that the success of the business largely depends on personnel. And he was convinced of this 20-e и 30-ewhen he outplayed all his opponents.
Stalin proceeded from the fact that cadres do not appear on their own. They must be educated and kept in good shape, uprooting any attempts to deviate from the general line, which was determined by the leader himself.
Cultural and scientific campaigns
For all his busyness, Stalin always found time to read and get acquainted with novelties in the field of literature and art. From his youth, interested in and deeply knowing Russian and foreign literature and culture and constantly monitoring trends in Soviet art, he noticed that an unhealthy situation had developed in the country after the war on the cultural front.
He believed that one of the reasons for this situation was the weakening of the party's control over processes in literature, cinematography, drama and science. This led to the appearance of works that were frankly alien to the Soviet way of life, causing, from his point of view, serious harm to the development of Soviet society.
In addition, the Soviet people, liberating Europe, saw with their own eyes that they still live better there. And we would like the same changes in our country.
Stalin conceived a series of campaigns designed to cover the most important areas of the spiritual life of society. He began with literature. From his youth, he always read a lot. His erudition and erudition manifested itself in speeches and conversations with people of completely different circles. He knew Russian classical literature well, loved the works of Gogol and Saltykov-Shchedrin. In the field of foreign literature, he was well acquainted with the works of Shakespeare, Heine, Balzac, Hugo.
In 1946, Stalin formulated his main thesis on this issue, that in recent years dangerous tendencies, inspired by the pernicious influence of the West, have been seen in many literary works, and that Soviet people are increasingly depicted in caricatures on the pages of Soviet works.
In August, the Central Committee issued a decree "On the magazines" Zvezda "and" Leningrad ", which attacked entire literary movements and individual writers deserving severe condemnation.
The writer Zoshchenko and the poet Akhmatova, whose works were published on the pages of the Zvezda magazine, were especially harshly condemned.
Zoshchenko was accused of preparing works that were unprincipled and ideologically alien to Soviet literature.
And Akhmatova was called
"A typical representative of empty, unprincipled poetry, alien to our people."
The decree ordered to terminate access to the Zvezda magazine for the works of Zoshchenko, Akhmatova and the like. And the magazine "Leningrad" was completely closed. Here he showed himself to be an extremely tough, picky and irreconcilable censor. He did not spare the harshest epithets when evaluating works that, in his opinion, were politically harmful. And they contradicted the party's course in the field of spiritual life.
This is how Stalin understood ideology in literature and defended it.
He certainly loved and highly appreciated the art of cinema, theater and music. This is recognized by everyone who came across him. He loved concerts, especially with the participation of vocalists such as Kozlovsky. He listened to classical music with enthusiasm when such an outstanding pianist as Gilels was sitting at the piano.
Stalin believed that one of the important reasons for the major shortcomings in the repertoire of drama theaters is the unsatisfactory work of playwrights who stand aside from contemporary issues, do not know the life and needs of the people, and do not know how to portray the best features and qualities of the Soviet person. Politics in the field of theater found the most concentrated expression in the resolution of the Central Committee of the party "On the repertoire of dramatic theaters", issued in August 1946.
The decree declared the state of the theaters repertoire unsatisfactory. Plays by Soviet authors were ousted from the repertoire of the country's theaters. And among the small number of plays on modern themes, there were many weak and unprincipled.
Stalin also assigned a great role in shaping the spiritual image of Soviet society to cinematography. On his initiative, a shift towards historical topics dedicated to prominent figures in Russian history - generals, scientists, cultural workers.
He recommended that filmmakers return to assessing the personality and historical role of Ivan the Terrible as a national tsar defending Russian national interests from foreign influence. The leader wanted the audience to see in Ivan the Terrible a tough but just ruler, as he imagined himself.
Stalin's intervention in the scientific community was far from successful.
This was especially evident in the rise of a rather mediocre and illiterate biologist Lysenko, who inspired the leader that his "research" in the field of grain production could bring fabulous harvests.
In the late 40s, this led to the prosperity of "Lysenkoism", which subjected (under the pretext of the struggle against "Weismanism - Mendelism - Morganism") the defeat and defamation of the Soviet school of genetics. By the summer of 1952, Stalin was convinced that with the rise of Lysenko and the establishment of his monopoly in the field of biological science, he was grossly blundered. And he gave instructions to put things in order here.
Fight against cosmopolitans and the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee
The theme of the fight against cosmopolitanism encompasses many different aspects, interconnected with each other.
The beginning was laid by the editorial of the newspaper Pravda on January 28, 1949, "On one anti-patriotic group of theater critics."
It emphasized that there are people infected with the remnants of bourgeois ideology, trying to poison the creative atmosphere of Soviet art with their pernicious spirit and damaging the development of literature and art. The article indicated by name
mainly of Jewish nationality and the task was
"Do away with liberal nonentities",
deprived of a healthy feeling of love for the Motherland and for the people. As for the liberals, it is still relevant today.
Everywhere in creative organizations, meetings began to be held condemning rootless cosmopolitans. All of them were subjected not only to criticism, but to vicious ridicule and characterized as criminals. The campaign concerned not only persons of Jewish nationality, it was universal in nature, affecting different layers of the creative intelligentsia. Gradually, the fight against cosmopolitanism became the responsibility of the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee.
The origins of this case lie in 1944, when the leaders of the JAC applied through Zhemchuzhina (Molotov's wife) with a letter to the government on the establishment of a Jewish Soviet Socialist Republic on the territory of Crimea. The letter stated that the creation of a republic in Crimea would contribute to the elimination of anti-Semitism in the country.
And Crimea is the most consistent with the requirements for spaciousness for the Jewish people. The Tatars were then evicted in Crimea. And this territory was relatively free.
The idea did not find support from Stalin and gradually died out.
The committee unanimously launched its activities in the country. And he began to assume the functions of the chief commissioner for the Jewish population.
The Ministry of State Security, in a report to Stalin at the end of 1947, made a proposal to liquidate the JAC, whose actions incited nationalist sentiments among the Jews of the Soviet Union. The Zionists used these people to stir up dissatisfaction with the policies of the authorities, and this became especially noticeable after the formation of the State of Israel in May 1948.
The USSR was the first to de facto recognize Israel's independence in May 1948. Stalin agreed to this, since there were many emigrants from Russia living in Israel. The ideas of socialism were quite popular there. And the leader was going to make Israel an outpost of socialism in the Middle East. However, these geopolitical calculations by Stalin did not materialize. Israel's ruling circles soon turned to face the West. And he had to pursue a different policy.
Stalin reasonably regarded the JAC as the center of gravity for pro-Ril sentiments. And in November 1948, the Ministry of State Security was instructed to dissolve the committee. And to prepare a trial on accusations of the EAK leadership of working for foreign intelligence services.
The most active part of the EAC was selected for this scenario. It includes representatives of the Jewish intelligentsia widely known in the country - diplomats, scientists, artists, poets, writers and public figures.
An accusation was also brought against Molotov's wife, Pearl. She was accused of meeting with Israeli Ambassador Golda Meir, establishing permanent contacts with representatives of the JAC and Mikhoels, supporting their nationalist actions and passing on classified information to them.
According to one version, she provided secret information that she accidentally heard during a conversation between Stalin and Molotov. At the end of December, Zhemchuzhina was expelled from the party and arrested a month later. At a meeting of the Politburo, Stalin accused Molotov of sharing with his wife the issues discussed at the Politburo, and she passes information to the members of the JAC.
The trial in the JAC case took place in May-July 1952. The pearl did not pass through it. In December 1949 she was sentenced to five years of exile by a special meeting.
The military collegium of the Supreme Court in the JAC case sentenced 13 people to death and two to imprisonment. The head of the committee, Mikhoels, who had extensive contacts abroad, before the trial in January 1948, was liquidated in a rigged car accident.
In 1948-1952, in connection with the JAC case, 110 people were arrested and prosecuted on charges of espionage and anti-Soviet activities - party and Soviet workers, scientists, writers, poets, journalists and artists, of whom 10 were sentenced to death.
Stalin did not forget to keep the military in good shape.
Despite their achievements during the war, they must have felt that at any moment their fate could change dramatically.
According to false information from his son Vasily, an Air Force general, he ordered Abakumov to investigate the so-called "case of aviators."
In April 1946, the MGB fabricated a case that the former people's commissar aviation industry Shakhurin, former Air Force commander Novikov and a number of other persons allegedly deliberately harmed the air force. They supplied aircraft with defective or with serious design flaws, which led to accidents and death of pilots.
In fact, there was a poor-quality supply of aircraft to the troops. Since the front required a large number of aircraft, they simply did not have time to produce and deliver them properly.
During interrogation, arrested leaders of industry and aviation began to falsely testify and slander themselves and others, which led to additional arrests. Abakumov convinced Stalin that this was deliberate sabotage.
But he did not trust these accusations. And additional checks showed that due to the tight deadlines there were cases of the release of unfinished aircraft. In the "case of aviators" the court in May 1946 sentenced the defendants to various terms of imprisonment for poor-quality production and concealment of these facts.
Malenkov also suffered indirectly in the "aviator case", since he was in charge of the aviation industry. And against Marshal Zhukov, false testimonies were received from Novikov that during the war he conducted anti-Soviet conversations, criticized Stalin, claiming that the leader was jealous of his glory, and that the Marshal could lead a military conspiracy. Abakumov also presented written statements from the military, in which they accused the marshal of arrogance, humiliation and insult of subordinates, and often of assault.
At this time, the MGB was investigating a "trophy case", in which Zhukov was also involved.
At a meeting of the Supreme Military Council in June 1946, Zhukov was charged with misappropriating trophies and inflating his merits in defeating Hitler. During the meeting, Zhukov was silent and did not make excuses, the top military leaders supported the marshal, but members of the Politburo accused him of "Bonapartism", dismissed him as Commander-in-Chief of the Ground Forces and transferred him to the command of the Odessa Military District.
As part of the "trophy case" (1946-1948), Stalin instructed Abakumov to figure out who from the generals took out more than reasonable limits from Germany and punish them in the name of stopping the decomposition of the army. As a result of the investigation, three generals - Kulik, Gordov and Rybalchenko were shot on a combination of crimes related not only to the "trophy case", and 38 more generals and admirals received various prison sentences.
At the end of 1947, the Commander-in-Chief of the Navy, Admiral Kuznetsov, his deputy, Admiral Haller, and Admirals Alafuzov and Stepanov, were also repressed. They were presented with a far-fetched charge of transferring classified information about the weapons of naval ships and secret sea charts to Great Britain and the United States in 1942-1944.
The Military Collegium of the Supreme Court in February 1948 found them guilty of the charges. But, given the great merits of Kuznetsov, she decided not to apply criminal punishment to him. He was demoted to Rear Admiral. The rest of the accused were sentenced to various terms of imprisonment.
The artillery commanders also fell under repression. In December 1951, Deputy Defense Minister Marshal of Artillery Yakovlev and Head of the Main Artillery Directorate Volkotrubenko were unjustifiably dismissed from their posts. In February 1952, they were arrested on charges of sabotage in the development of 57mm automatic anti-aircraft guns. Immediately after Stalin's death, the charges were dropped. And they were restored to their rights.
Being engaged in the military, Stalin did not forget about the purges of the MGB. In May 1946, the head of the department, Merkulov, Beria's man, was replaced by Abakumov. And the ministry itself has been shaken up. And in September 1947, Beria, who was in charge of the MGB, was replaced by the Secretary of the Central Committee Kuznetsov.
Struggle of Stalin's associates
Stalin, due to his suspiciousness, suspicion and thirst for one-man power, as well as the possible mental disorder that persecuted him for many years, hardly anyone from his environment seriously trusted. A feature of Stalin's tactics and strategy in relation to his comrades-in-arms was that he constantly shuffled the cards, confusing them. And none of them had a reliable guarantee against unexpected disgrace or even execution.
He was well aware of the internal relationship between his comrades-in-arms, where a tough struggle was unfolding between them for the favor of the leader. A recent favorite could suddenly find himself in disgrace and instead of being promoted to fear for his life.
At the end of the war, Molotov enjoyed the greatest disposition of Stalin. But at the end of 1945, a crushing blow fell on him. Stalin accused him of serious international blunders, compliance, liberalism and softness, which led to the publication in the Western press of slanderous fabrications in relation to the Soviet regime and Stalin personally. In his telegram to the members of the Politburo, he actually sentenced Molotov, writing that he could no longer consider him his first deputy. And no excuses from Molotov helped. A few years later, Molotov received another blow related to the participation of his wife in the trial of the JAC. And he really faced serious disgrace.
The same threat hung over Malenkov, who in 1946 was involved in the "case of aviators". He was under house arrest. Then he was removed from the secretariat of the Central Committee and thrown into grain procurements in Siberia. And only in July 1948 he was reinstated as the secretary of the Central Committee.
The fate of Beria was not so unambiguous.
After his strengthening at the end of the "great purge" of the 30s, Stalin in 1945 relieved him of his post as head of the NKVD, leaving him to oversee the atomic project. And in 1947, he pushed him away from the supervision of this special service, replacing him with Kuznetsov. After the successful completion of the atomic project, Beria's influence increased again.
In October 1952, at the XNUMXth Party Congress, Stalin unexpectedly subjected Molotov and Mikoyan to harsh and derogatory criticism, which stunned his comrades-in-arms.
By 1948, Stalin's entourage formed two groups.
On the one hand, the powerful "Leningrad group" promoted by the leader, which included a member of the Politburo and chairman of the State Planning Committee Voznesensky, secretary of the Central Committee Kuznetsov, member of the Politburo and deputy chairman of the Council of Ministers Kosygin, first secretary of the Leningrad regional committee Popkov and head of the Council of Ministers of the RSFSR Rodionov. In their activities, young leaders showed initiative and independence in solving economic and organizational problems.
In this group, Voznesensky stood out, who, occupying one of the key posts in the government, was recognized as one of the country's best economists and experts in the military economy. At the same time, he suffered from ambition, arrogance and rudeness even towards members of the Politburo. In addition, he was a chauvinist, Stalin called him
"A great-power chauvinist of a rare degree."
They were opposed by the "old guard" in the form of an alliance of the Politburo members Malenkov, Beria, Bulganin and the secretary of the Central Committee, Khrushchev, appointed in 1949.
Between the groups there was a constant undercover struggle for influence over the leader, which ended in 1950 with the physical destruction of the "Leningraders" and the dominant position of Malenkov's group at the top of power.
Stalin himself provoked this process. He always strove to maintain an atmosphere of envy and distrust among his comrades-in-arms and on this basis to strengthen his personal power. In a close circle of associates, already in 1948, he expressed considerations that he was already old. And we need to think about the successors. They must be young. And as an example, he cited Kuznetsov, who could replace him in the party leadership, and Voznesensky as the head of government, since he is a brilliant economist and an excellent manager.
Such statements by the leader could not but alert Malenkov's group. And this became a kind of spring that set in motion the mechanism for launching the "Leningrad case".
The "Leningrad affair" was fabricated. And it was caused by the incessant struggle between the two groups, the desire of the old comrades-in-arms, not disdaining by any means, to destroy the Leningrad grouping and strengthen their power.
They were afraid that the young Leningrad team would replace Stalin and sweep them off the political Olympus. This was one of Stalin's biggest blunders. He increasingly lost control over his actions. And he was unable to resist the provocative denunciations that Beria and other close associates supplied him with, skillfully playing on his feelings.
The reason for fabricating false accusations against the "Leningraders" was the All-Russian Wholesale Fair held in January 1949 in Leningrad. Malenkov charged them with holding the fair without the knowledge and bypassing the Central Committee and the government. They were accused of opposing themselves to the Central Committee, trying to fence off the Leningrad organization from the party, and supposedly even intended to create the Communist Party of the Russian Federation in order to strengthen their positions in the struggle against the center, that is, against Stalin.
On the instructions of Stalin, on February 15, 1949, the Politburo considered the anti-party actions of this group and decided to release them (except Voznesensky) from their posts. Voznesensky was tied to this case later on Beria's statement that Voznesensky deliberately misled the government about the industrial production plan. By a decision of the Politburo on March 5, 1949, Voznesensky was relieved of his post as chairman of the State Planning Commission. These decisions served as the factual basis for starting the development of the "Leningrad case".
This group in a narrow circle really discussed the possibility of creating a Communist Party of the RSFSR, seeing nothing wrong with it. In addition, they knew that Stalin did not rule out the possibility of promoting Voznesensky and Kuznetsov to top positions in the state. And it flattered their pride.
But the leader did not forget about Zinoviev's actions to create opposition to his course in Leningrad in 1925-1926. And the very thought of a possible repetition of this process was unacceptable for him, since he saw in their reasoning an attempt on his sole power.
For the suspicious Stalin, such a turn meant a lot. And this was quite enough to start the implementation of the plan to defeat the Leningrad "opposition".
In July 1949, Abakumov fabricated materials about Kapustin's connections with British intelligence. And he was arrested. And in August, Kuznetsov, Popkov, Rodionov and Lazutin were arrested on charges of counterrevolutionary activities. Voznesensky was also arrested in October.
After a long trial and interrogation with passion, everyone except Voznesensky admitted their guilt. And in September 1950 by the Military Collegium of the Supreme Court, they were sentenced to death.
After the massacre of the "central group", trials took place over the rest of the participants in the "Leningrad case". 214 people were subjected to severe repressions, most of them were close and distant relatives of the convicts.
Trusting the machinations of Malenkov's group and destroying the Leningrad group, Stalin made a serious political mistake, removing from the political field his loyal comrades-in-arms who did not quite deliberately talk about possible alignments in the political leadership. And he left next to him the hardened politicians who dreamed of seizing power.
The doctors' case was unleashed amid Stalin's grave illness and his constantly growing suspicion, artificially whipped up by his associates. First of all, Beria's systematic reports on the disclosure of conspiracies.
At the same time, the "Mingrelian affair" was unleashed against Beria. Since he was a Mingrelian and supervised the situation in Georgia.
In November 1951, the Politburo adopted a resolution on bribery in Georgia and on the Mingrelian anti-party group Baramia, which (in addition to patronizing bribe takers) pursued the goal of seizing power in Georgia.
The impetus for the unwinding of the doctors' case was a letter in August 1948 from the doctor of the Kremlin hospital Timashuk to the head of security Vlasik and Kuznetsov, in which it was stated that during the treatment of Zhdanov he was given the wrong diagnosis and prescribed treatment that led to his death.
At the instigation of Beria and Malenkov, investigator Ryumin wrote a letter to Stalin in July 1951, in which he accused Abakumov of covering up the pest doctors who killed Zhdanov and the candidate for membership in the Politburo Shcherbakov. Stalin reacted instantly. Abaumov was dismissed from office and brought to trial.
The MGB resumed the investigation into the terrorist activities of doctors. And at the end of 1952, at Stalin's direction, it began to spin in a different direction. In January 1953 Malenkov summoned Timashuk and informed her about the award of the Order of Lenin.
A TASS report was immediately published. It said that a terrorist group of doctors had been discovered, who set as their goal, by means of wrecking treatment, to reduce the lives of the country's leaders. The investigation found that the members of the terrorist group, deliberately villainously undermined the health of the latter, gave them wrong diagnoses, and then killed them with the wrong treatment.
The criminals admitted that they reduced the lives of Zhdanov and Shcherbakov, using potent drugs in their treatment and establishing a regime that was detrimental to them, thus bringing them to death. They also tried to undermine the health of the Soviet leading military personnel - Vasilevsky, Govorov, Konev and weaken the country's defense. However, the arrest upset their villainous plans.
It was established that all the killer doctors were agents of foreign intelligence and were associated with the international Jewish bourgeois-nationalist organization "Joint".
All propaganda organs were filled with materials about the killers in white coats. The campaign was anti-Jewish, which caused deep and well-founded alarm among the Jewish population. There was something like mass hysteria in the country. The Soviet people with anger and indignation branded the criminal gang of murderers and their foreign masters.
Rumors began to spread among people of Jewish nationality about their forthcoming forced eviction to remote areas of the country. The situation was heated to the limit. The whole country anxiously awaited further developments. But they did not follow. And there was only one reason - the death of the leader himself. She put an end to this campaign.
The leader died of his own death, burdened with a whole range of diseases. Although there is a version that Stalin was helped to die.
Perhaps this is so. But nothing confirms this version, except for the far-fetched fabrications of some Russian historians.
Be that as it may, the era of Stalin is over.
And the "old guard" was consolidated. And she began the battle for the Stalinist legacy.