4.1 KRUSHCHEV’S SCHEMES Stalin’s death added a tremendous problem to the many others left unsolved while he was still alive. The dead tyrant’s successors knew that they could not govern as he had. Their personal security could not be achieved simply by the end of terror from above; it also required additional reforms to avoid a possible threat from the abused and oppressed masses. The dilemma that Stalin’s death presented was to determine what kind of reform the system could stand without being undermined. At what point would the reforms that were necessary to sustain the system begin to threaten it. (Kort, 1993, p. 23 1) Georgi Malenkov, the youngest of Stalin’s inner circle and a devout student of political intrigue, had prepared carefully for the struggle for personal power and domination that would consume all post-Stalin administrators. He moved quickly to assert control, claiming the top government and party positions, prime minister and senior party secretary, for himself. A close friend and co-conspirator, Lavrenti Beria (the chief of the secret police under Stalin) received two prominent, and complementary, appointments; Minister of the Interior and frst deputy prime minister. Viacheslav Molotov, a renowned Bolshevik and distinguished member of the Politburo, assumed the position of foreign minister. The three formed an uneasy alliance, a political triumvirate, which would succeed Stalin in the days immediately following his death. The new order was quickly discredited. According to Kort (1993, p. 233): On March 14, only nine days after Stalin’s death, Malenkov w s...
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