Khrushchev: The Making of a Dictator

Khrushchev: The Making of a Dictator

Khrushchev: The Making of a Dictator

Khrushchev: The Making of a Dictator

Excerpt

N IKITA Sergeyevich Khrushchev's family background, childhood and early youth are all still in a state of flux. Contrary to the rest of the world, in the Soviet Union the future is certain, shaped by plans and governed by "inevitable" laws of development, while the past is most uncertain. The events of the past are constantly changed to fit the actuality of the present. Facts -- to use Orwellian terminology -- become "unfacts", persons "unpersons". On occasion unpersons and unfacts may be revived. The personal past of Soviet leaders is constantly promoted or demoted. The Soviet encyclopedias are also governed by the principle: "Truth is the political line of the day."

Encyclopedia articles are subjected to a continued process of rewriting in order to adapt them to the twists and turns in the struggle for power within the Soviet leadership. The second, Khrushchevian, edition of the Large Encyclopedia and the new version of Communist Party History demonstrated that this process is still continuing. Students of Soviet affairs know how difficult it is to foretell the Soviet past.

The present work which is based solely on Soviet documentation will not attempt to forecast Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev's final childhood and youth, if there ever should be one. The fact is that Soviet historical works, encyclopedias, biographical dictionaries and newspaper accounts usually cover the first thirty years of Khrushchev's life in two to five hundred words, giving very few and mostly conflicting details about Khrushchev's parents, childhood and youth. The archives of his native Kalinovka were lost and Khrushchev embarrasses would-be biographers by giving far too many conflicting versions of his early days.

The biographers of Soviet leaders often have tasks similar in a way to that of archeological researchers. Soviet public life is . . .

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