Cold War Characters

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Lavrenti Beria

- Head of the secret police

- Stalin's cheif henchman from 1938-1953

- A sinister master of intrigue and a sexual predator who picked up women from the streets for his own pleasure.

- Despite his association with Stalin's apparatus of terror, there are indications that Beria would have introduced some liberal reforms if he had become Stalin's successor.

- He initiated the release of 1 million prisoners from Labour camps.

- He was to underestimate Khrushchev during the power struggle and was outmanoeuvred by the 'moon faced idiot'.

- Arrested and shot in 1953

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Georgi Malenkov

- Rose through the ranks of the Communist Party under Stalin to become a Politburo member in 1946.

- On Stalin's death he held the positions of Prime Minister and head of the Party. 

- His foreign policy was known as the 'New Course', and this encouraged better relations with the West.

-Within the Politburo he was also outmanouvred by Khruschev in 1957 and dismissed.

-He was then sent to Kazakhstan to run a hydroelectric plant but his active political career was over.

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Nikita Khruschev

- Emerged as a leaver of the Soviet Union after the death of Stalin in 1953.

- Although he was a committed communist, Khruschev wanted to move away from the brutal policies of Stalin. 

- He criticised Stalin's policies during a congress of the Soviet Communist Party in 1956 and encouraged De-Stalinisation

- In international relations Khruschev adopted a softer tone towards the West than Stalin had.

- He believed that the superpowers should accept each others existence, and put forward the idea of 'peaceful co-existance'.

-Yet when soviet power was under attack, Khruschev made threats to the West.

- His language was often colourful and undiplomatic.The Soviet climbdown during the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 was a personal embarrassment from which he never recoverd.

- He was sacked by the Soviet politburo in 1964 and died quietly in retirement in 1971

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