The Soviet Purge: 1953 Version

The Soviet Purge: 1953 Version

The Soviet Purge: 1953 Version

The Soviet Purge: 1953 Version

Excerpt

Since just before the opening of the XIXth Party Congress in October, 1952, a party shake-up of sizeable proportions has been underway in the Soviet Union. Although this shake-up seems to be much narrower in scope than the great purge of the thirties, there have been extensive replacements in the Central Committees of the communist parties of several republics. As in the thirties, the current purge seems to be heaviest in the non-Russian areas. So far none of the prominent figures who have disappeared from the roster of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and of the communist parties of the Soviet republics have been accused of crimes. At the oblast level, however (there are fewer than two hundred oblasts in the Soviet Union), party leaders have been severely criticized, officially reprimanded, and in some cases removed from their posts because of lack of vigilance in preventing irregularities. Thus far there has been no allegation of espionage in the localities, although the epithets "sabotage" and "counterrevolutionary" have been common.

On January 13, in the midst of the party shake-up, Pravda announced that the Ministry of State Security (MGB) had discovered "some time ago" that a group of doctors had medically murdered Zhdanov and Shcherbakov and had also tried to murder several important military figures. No one with the popularity of Marshal Zhukov was given the honor of being named as an intended victim of the plotters. Pravda explicitly charged that the United States and its British junior partner inspired the plot, relying on a group of "depraved Jewish bourgeois nationalists" in the Soviet Union. Nine doctors were named; six were Jewish. The main purpose of the plotters, according to Pravda , was to weaken the defense of the . . .

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