Lavrenty Beria

Georgian Soviet politician and NKVD police chief (1899-1953)

Lavrenty Pavlovich Beria (or Lavrentiy 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 ordered Beria to be executed as a traitor.

Lavrenty Beria
Lavrenty Beria.jpg
First Deputy Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Soviet Union
In office
5 March 1953 – 26 June 1953
PremierGeorgy Malenkov
Preceded byVyacheslav Molotov
Succeeded byLazar Kaganovich
Minister of Internal Affairs of the Soviet Union
In office
5 March 1953 – 26 June 1953
Preceded bySergei Kruglov
Succeeded bySergei Kruglov
In office
25 November 1938 – 29 December 1945
First Secretary of the Georgian Communist Party
In office
15 January 1934 – 31 August 1938
In office
14 November 1931 – 18 October 1932
Personal details
Lavrentiy Pavlovich Beria

(1899-03-29)29 March 1899
Merkheuli, Kutaisi Governorate, Russian Empire
Died23 December 1953(1953-12-23) (aged 54)
Moscow, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union
NationalitySoviet, Georgian
Political partyCommunist Party of the Soviet Union
AwardsHero of the Soviet Union Medal Stalin Prize.png Medal Stalin Prize.png Badge Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union.jpg
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Order of Lenin ribbon bar.png Order of Red Banner ribbon bar.png Order of Red Banner ribbon bar.png Order of Red Banner ribbon bar.png
Order suvorov1 rib.png OrdenSuheBator.png
Military service
RankMarshal of the Soviet Union
Battles/warsWorld 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".[1] 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. During the coup d'état led by Nikita Khrushchev and assisted by the military forces of Marshal Georgy Zhukov, Beria was arrested on charges of treason during a meeting in which the full Politburo condemned him. The compliance of the NKVD was ensured by Zhukov's troops and, after interrogation, Beria was taken to the basement of the Lubyanka and shot.


  1. Montefiore, Simon Sebag (2005). Stalin: Court of the Red Tsar. Random House. p. 483.