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What was known about Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev during his career was strictly limited by the secretive Soviet government. Little more information was available after he was ousted and became a "non-person" in the ussr in 1964. This pathbreaking book draws for the first time on a wealth of newly released materials--documents from secret former Soviet archives, memoirs of long-silent witnesses, the full memoirs of the premier himself--to assemble the best-informed analysis of the Khrushchev years ever completed. The contributors to this volume include Russian, Ukrainian, American, and British scholars; a former key foreign policy aide to Khrushchev; the executive secretary of a Russian commission investigating Soviet-era repressions and rehabilitations; and Khrushchev's own son Sergei. The book presents and interprets new information on Khrushchev's struggle for power, public attitudes toward him, his role in agricultural reform and cultural politics, and such foreign policy issues as East-West relations, nuclear strategy, and relations with Germany. It also chronicles Khrushchev's years in Ukraine where he grew up and began his political career, serving as Communist party boss from 1938 to 1949, and his role in mass repressions of the 1930s and in destalinization in the 1950s and 1960s. Two concluding chapters compare the regimes of Khrushchev and Gorbachev as they struggled to reform Communism, to humanize and modernize the Soviet system, and to answer the haunting question that persists today: Is Russia itself reformable?

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780300076356
ISBN-10: 0300076355
Format: Hardback
(234mm x 156mm x 25mm)
Pages: 400
Imprint: Yale University Press
Publisher: Yale University Press
Publish Date: 1-Jun-2000
Country of Publication: United States

Reviews

US Kirkus Review » Its not often that the proceedings of a conference are read by anyone other than the participants (and often not even by them), but this book, originating in an international conference on the centennial of Nikitia Khrushchev's birth, is both important and even moving.Khrushchev is one of the most remarkable and paradoxical figures to have arisen in the Soviet or any other system. A convinced Communist, an admirer and close collaborator of Stalin, he was intimately involved with some of the worst purges of the 1930s and 1940s. In Moscow archives, his signature (as the party secretary) appears on the list approving the execution of thousands of party functionaries5,000 of whom were shot as part of Moscow's quota. As a regional party boss in the 1930s, he deported more than two million people from the western Ukraine. Im up to my elbows in blood, he said after his retirement. I sincerely believed in Stalin at the time and did everything. . . . That's the most terrible thing, what burdens my soul. And yet, even at the height of the purges, Khrushchev took considerable risks in seeking the rehabilitation or release of some accused, even in the face of Stalin's irritation. And while his famous secret speech condemning Stalin was agreed to by the Presidium, it was, writes Vladimir Naumov, an act of high civil courage that could have, if it had gone wrong, cost him his life. Solzhenitsyn himself credited Khrushchev with a profound spiritual impulse in his determination to release prisoners from the Gulag. But the importance and subtlety of these analyses lie in the nuances that the authors, approaching Khrushchev from so many perspectives, bring to his life. One revelation is the evidence that the public, unlike the intellectuals, may have disapproved of the speech.A book that underlines why Gorbachev was almost inconceivable without Khrushchev. (Kirkus Reviews)


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Author Biography - Prof. William Taubman

William Taubman is Bertrand Snell Professor of Political Science at Amherst College. Sergei Khrushchev, son of Nikita Khrushchev, is senior fellow at the Thomas J. Watson Jr. Institute for International Studies at Brown University. Abbott Gleason is Keeney Professor of History at Brown University.

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