Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Disturbing New Push in Putin’s Russia to Rehabilitate Stalin's NKVD Chief Lavrenty Beria

Paul Goble

            Staunton, August 10 – Even those Russians who deify Stalin typically blame some of the tragedies of his time on his comrades in arms and thus have been opposed to rehabilitating and celebrating the lives and careers of the most notorious of these, including longtime secret police chief Lavrenty Pavlovich Beria.

            But now that Russia has a KGB officer as its president and one who often says positive things about Stalin’s times, it perhaps should not be surprising that some Russians are now seeking to rehabilitate and celebrate even those as horrific as Beria precisely to establish a kind of dynastic succession from Feliks Dzerzhinsky to the present day.

            There are now websites, articles and even films devoted to this effort – see, for example, the movie about Beria’s life on Youtube ( – but perhaps the most disturbing of these is a 3,000-word article that seeks to expose what it calls “the Jewish mythology of myths” about Beria (

            The article lists more than 15 “myths” about Beria and provides what is says are the real “facts” in each case.  Among the most interesting of these are the following:

·         It is not true, the article says, that Beria was ever brought before a Soviet court. In fact, the article says, those who arrested him violated the law in numerous ways including arresting him before rather than after charges were brought against him.

·         It is not true that Beria repressed people who didn’t deserve to be repressed. He carried out his orders and punished those who the author suggests deserved to be.

·         It is not true, the article says, that Beria was being the idea of creating special NKVD squads to shoot any Red Army men who were retreating. That idea had been enshrined in Soviet law before he became head of the security services. Nor was he to blame for coming up with the idea of sending Russians who had been taken prisoner to the GULAG on their liberation from their Nazi jailors. That too was an old Moscow idea.

·         It is not true that Beria was a member of the troika in 1937 or that he was behind the Leningrad affair after the war. Even Khrushchev’s pet historians couldn’t find evidence for this myth, the article says.

·         It is not true that Beria killed Stalin after losing faith in the Kremlin leader.

·         It is not true that he was an agent of foreign powers.

·         The myth that potatoes, fruits and vegetables disappeared from Soviet shelves in 1953 because of Beria as some writers have claimed.

·         It is not true that Beria initiated deportations from Western Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus, and the Baltic countries or the deportations from the North Caucasus. Moreover, the article says, it is not the case that Beria “planned to surrender the Caucasus to Hitler.”

That list, a pastiche of claims made about Beria in the past and even  now, is enough to suggest why some are interested in rehabilitating the NKVD chief.  But those behind it may not have reflected that such efforts have one consequence that they may not really be interested in having happen.

And it is this: if Beria was not guilty of so many of the crimes that he was charged with because they actually happened or could have happened, someone was – and when he was in charge of the Soviet secret police, there was only one person that could be – Stalin, someone whom the current Kremlin leader has called “an effective manager.”

No comments:

Post a Comment