Nikita Khrushchev (1953 – 1964)


Between 1953 and 1956Khrushchev used his position as Secretary of the Central Committee to replace over half of the secretaries of the republics and regional party committees.

Between 1953 and 1956there was a rise of 25% in the price of grain procurements.

1953Khrushchev launched the ‘VIRGIN LAND SCHEME'. Over 250,000 volunteers enlisted, 12,000 tractors were provided and 6 million acres were freshly ploughed in the first year of the scheme.

1954Vietnam was partitioned into the Communist Republic of North Vietnam and the non-Communist Republic of South Vietnam. The US strengthened South Vietnam so that it would act as a barrier against further Communist expansion. Under Khrushchev, the USSR kept a relatively low profile in events in Vietnam, until US bombers started bombing North Vietnam.

Between 1955 and 1965coal increased from 391 million tons to 578 million, tractor production increased from 314,000 to 804,000 and TV set production from 495,000 to 3,655,000.

In 1956 an extra 35.9 million hectares of land was cultivated due to the Virgin Land Scheme, which contributed over 50% of the total grain harvest for the USSR.

24th February 1956– KHRUSHCHEV'S SECRET SPEECH – at a closed session of the 20th Party Congress Khrushchev delivered a speech on the subject “the cult of the individual and its consequences”, listing Stalin’s crimes (including “mass arrests and deportations of thousands of people, execution without trial…”).

1956 KHRUSHCHEV SENT TANKS INTO HUNGARY after anti-Soviet demonstrations in Budapest and the leader Imre Nagy announcing his intention to leave the Warsaw Pact. Over 20,000 Hungarians were killed and Khrushchev’s reputation very badly damaged.

When Khrushchev visited the Yugoslavian leader, Tito in 1956and bestowed Soviet favour, the idea was strengthened that the Kremlin had accepted Yugoslavia’s right to develop its own brand of Communism.


By 1957, LABOUR CAMPS WERE OPENED and millions of people were set free.

In 1957 KHRUSHCHEV SET UP 105 REGIONAL ECONOMIC COUNCILS to take the place of the national ministries – move away from central planning that mainly just added another level of complicated bureaucracy.

In 1957 the PARTY VOTED 7:4 FOR KHRUSHCHEV'S DISMISSAL from the role of Party Secretary but Khrushchev overcame this by using his position and rallying his supporters.


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