Lavrenty Pavlovich Beria (29 March 1899– 23 December 1953) was the leader of the secret police of the Soviet Union under Joseph Stalin's regime. In 1953, Nikita Krushchev plotted to have Beria executed.
|First Deputy Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Soviet Union|
5 March 1953 – 26 June 1953
|Preceded by||Vyacheslav Molotov|
|Succeeded by||Lazar Kaganovich|
|Minister of Internal Affairs of the Soviet Union|
5 March 1953 – 26 June 1953
|Preceded by||Sergei Kruglov|
|Succeeded by||Sergei Kruglov|
25 November 1938 – 29 December 1945
|First Secretary of the Georgian Communist Party|
15 January 1934 – 31 August 1938
14 November 1931 – 18 October 1932
Lavrentiy Pavlovich Beria
29 March 1899
Merkheuli, Kutaisi Governorate, Russian Empire
|Died||23 December 1953 (aged 54)|
Moscow, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union
|Political party||Communist Party of the Soviet Union|
|Awards||Hero of the Soviet Union |
|Rank||Marshal of the Soviet Union|
|Battles/wars||World War II|
Beria was a Soviet politician, Marshal of the Soviet Union and state security administrator, chief of the Soviet security and secret police apparatus (NKVD) under Joseph Stalin during World War II, and First Deputy Premier in the postwar years (1946–53).
He administered vast sections of the Soviet state. He served as de facto Marshal of the Soviet Union in command of the NKVD field units responsible for anti-partisan operations on the Eastern Front during World War II. His troops also were a barrier against thousands of "turncoats, deserters, cowards and suspected malingerers". Beria administered the vast expansion of the Gulag labor camps. He was responsible for overseeing the secret defense institutions known as sharashkas, critical to the war effort.
Beria also played the decisive role in coordinating the Soviet partisans, who developed an impressive intelligence and sabotage network behind German lines. He attended the Yalta Conference with Stalin, who introduced him to U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt as "our Himmler". After the war, he organized the communist takeover of the countries of Central Europe and Eastern Europe.
Beria's uncompromising ruthlessness in his duties and skill at producing results led to his overseeing the Soviet atomic bomb project. Stalin gave it absolute priority and the project was completed in under five years. To achieve this, Beria's NKVD organised Soviet espionage against the West.
Beria was promoted to First Deputy Premier, where he carried out a brief campaign of liberalization. He was briefly a part of the ruling "troika" with Georgy Malenkov and Vyacheslav Molotov. Beria's overconfidence in his position after Stalin's death led him to misjudge other Politburo members.
There was a coup d'état led by Nikita Khrushchev with the military forces of Marshal Georgy Zhukov. Beria was arrested on charges of treason during a meeting in which the full Politburo condemned him. This was all planned by Krushchov. The NKVD was powerless because Zhukov's troops were there. After interrogation, Beria was taken to the basement of the Lubyanka and shot, as were six of his associates.
- Montefiore, Simon Sebag (2005). Stalin: Court of the Red Tsar. Random House. p. 483.
- Beria, Sergo 2003. Beria, My Father: Inside Stalin's Kremlin. London: Duckworth. ISBN 0715632051
- Knight, Amy 1996. Beria: Stalin's First Lieutenant. Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-03257-2
- Wittlin, Thaddeus 1972. Commissar: the life and death of Lavrenty Pavlovich Beria. New York: Macmillan. OCLC 462215687.
- Yakovlev A.N. Naumov V. and Sigachev Y. 1999. (eds) Lavrenty Beria, 1953. Stenographic Report of July's Plenary Meeting of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and Other Documents, International Democracy Foundation, Moscow, 1999 (in Russian). ISBN 5-89511-006-1