Nikita Khrushchev and the Creation of a Superpower, Sergei Khrushchev

By Veklerov, Eugene | Demokratizatsiya, Fall 2001 | Go to article overview

Nikita Khrushchev and the Creation of a Superpower, Sergei Khrushchev


Veklerov, Eugene, Demokratizatsiya


There is no shortage of books about Nikita Sergeevich Khrushchev (NSK). Amazon.com lists more than a hundred books that include the word Khrushchev in their titles, including the memoir Khrushchev Remembers by NSK himself. This interest is not surprising, as Khrushchev presided over the transition of the USSR from Stalinism to a more open society and that transformation determined, to a large extent, the course of history in the latter part of the twentieth century.

The author of Nikita Khrushchev and the Creation of a Superpower is NSK's son, Sergei, who himself has undergone a remarkable transformation. He used to be a designer of cruise missiles for the Soviet navy during his father's tenure. Much later, he settled in the United States and became interested in another kind of cruises:. He lectures on luxurious cruise ships, sharing his recollections, presumably not gratuitously, with the bourgeois customers who, according to his father, were supposed to be surpassed and buried by the new glamorous society he was building in the now defunct USSR. And my hunch is that even though his father would probably be shocked by this twist of irony, being a pragmatic, he would approve of his enterprising son.

The book was written in Russian and has been translated into impeccable English. It is not really a biography. Rather, it is a collection of firsthand and secondhand accounts of the events witnessed by Sergei Khrushchev. The accounts of the events before Stalin's death and during the ensuing struggle for power up to the time when NSK became undisputed leader of the USSR are sketchy, simply because the author was too young at the time. Thus, the book does not shed much new light on the jockeying for power when NSK outmaneuvered such formidable foes as Beria, Malenkov, Bulganin, Molotov, Kaganovich, and Zhukov. Instead, that part of the book paints a picture of a family man with simple tastes, devoid of the paranoia of the Stalin era, enjoying rural life, his garden, and pets, and sincerely interested in improving the life of his fellow Russians.

Needless to say, this picture clashes with the image of NSK as Stalin's henchman who rose to the top by being a ruthless and duplicitous person, as he is shown in the movie Enemy at the Gate. Was he a closet liberal who was able to adapt to Stalinism while managing to keep his healthy attitudes intact and trying to mitigate the worst excesses of his boss? Another book recently published by L. P. Beria's son tries to revise history along such lines, and it cannot be easily dismissed, either. In fact, as soon as Stalin died, Beria proposed a program of liberal reforms that was even more sweeping than NSK's program. Was Beria sincere? Can a sadistic murderer be a closet liberal? Those questions are beyond our task, but NSK definitely deserves the benefit of the doubt.

The bulk of Khrushchev's book deals with the events occurring between 1954 and 1964. That is when NSK started the long road of de-Stalinization, dismantling of the iron curtain (which was later continued by Gorbachev after a long hiatus), building apartment houses and trying to improve the diet of the Soviet people. It includes detailed coverage of NSK's visit to the United States in 1959, the space race, the construction of the Berlin Wall (dismantled during the Gorbachev tenure), the invasion of Hungary, and the Cuban missile crisis. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Nikita Khrushchev and the Creation of a Superpower, Sergei Khrushchev
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.