Nikita Khrushchev

First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1953 to 1964

Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev[1] (15 April 1894[2] – 11 September 1971) was the leader of the Soviet Union after the death of Joseph Stalin. He ruled from 1953 to 1964 when Leonid Brezhnev, a former KGB officer, came to power in 1964, just 11 years after Stalin died . He was also the leader when Yuri Gagarin flew into space and became the first man to leave Earth in April 1961, just 8 years after Stalin died in 1953, . Khrushchev was also the leader who ordered the Berlin Wall to be built in East Berlin, the half of the former Nazi capital city Berlin, to separate it from West Berlin in August 1961 until the Fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 led by Mikhail Gorbachev during the end of the Cold War .

Nikita Khrushchev
Никита Хрущёв
Bundesarchiv Bild 183-B0628-0015-035, Nikita S. Chruschtschow.jpg
First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union
In office
September 14, 1953 – October 14, 1964
PresidentKliment Voroshilov
Leonid Brezhnev
Anastas Mikoyan
PremierGeorgy Malenkov
Nikolai Bulganin
Preceded byJoseph Stalin
Succeeded byLeonid Brezhnev
Premier of the Soviet Union
In office
March 27, 1958 – October 14, 1964
First DeputiesFrol Kozlov
Alexei Kosygin
Dmitriy Ustinov
Lazar Kaganovich
Anastas Mikoyan
Preceded byNikolai Bulganin
Succeeded byAlexei Kosygin
Personal details
Born(1894-04-15)15 April 1894
Kalinovka, Dmitriyevsky Uyezd, Kursk Governorate, Russian Empire
DiedSeptember 11, 1971(1971-09-11) (aged 77)
Moscow, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union
Political partyCommunist Party of the Soviet Union
Spouse(s)Yefrosinia Khrushcheva (1916–1919, died)
Marusia Khrushcheva (1922, separated)
Nina Khrushcheva (1923–1971, survived as widow)
SignatureA scrawled "Н Хрущёв"

Early lifeEdit

Nikita was born in the town of Kalinovka in Russia. He later moved to Ukraine. He worked in mines, and became part of the Bolshevik movement. He was a political commissar in the Red Army in the Russian Civil War and again in World War II and moved his way up in the Communist Party, eventually becoming trusted by Joseph Stalin. When Stalin died, Georgy Malenkov and several others including Khrushchev shared power. Eventually Khrushchev became the leader.


When Nikita became the leader of the Soviet Union, he began something he called "De-Stalinization". He made a secret speech, in which he denounced Stalin as a man who committed many murders of innocent people. In early 1956, he took down all posters and statues of Joseph Stalin. Also, he moved Stalin's grave to a place where people could not see it.[3]

Relations with the "West"Edit

He also had better contacts with the western countries like the USA, Britain, and France. This means the USSR and the western world were friendlier. He visited America in 1959.[4][5] During this visit, Khrushchev spoke at the United Nations and visited where he wanted, including destinations such as New York and Hollywood. However, his visit to Disneyland was cancelled for security reasons.[6]

But the USSR and the US still did not trust each other. In 1962 America and the USSR had a Cuban Missile Crisis which could have led to nuclear war, but didn't.[7] Khrushchev had bargained with the Americans to get rid of the missiles they had placed in Turkey, for the missiles in Cuba were the only way for withdrawal.[8]

Relations with ChinaEdit

Also, during this time, the Soviet Union became a lot less friendly with China.[9] Because the Chinese leader Mao Zedong liked Stalin, he did not like it when Khrushchev became friendlier with the west, and when Nikita Khrushchev began a "destalinization" campaign.[10]


He died of heart disease on 11 September 1971 in Moscow, aged 77.


  1.  listen  Russian: Ники́та Серге́евич Хрущёв; IPA: [xruˈɕːʲof]
  2. Tompson 1995, p. 2. Soviet era reports list his birth date as April 17 (April 5 old style) but recent discovery of his birth certificate has made biographers accept the April 15 date.
  3. Jennifer Rosenberg. Body of Stalin removed from Lenin's tomb. Guide [1]
  4. Carlson 2009, p. 247.
  5. Taubman 2003, pp. 421–22.
  6. "NPR". 'K Blows Top': Reliving Khrushchev's American Tour. June 29, 2009. Retrieved 2016-06-02.
  7. Whitman, Alden (1971-09-12), "Khrushchev's human dimensions brought him to power and to his downfall", The New York Times, retrieved 2009-09-25 (fee for article, but available free here)
  8. Taubman 2003, p. 575.
  9. Taubman 2003, pp. 470–71.
  10. Zubok 2007, p. 136.
Preceded by
Josef Stalin
First Secretary of the Soviet Communist Party
Succeeded by
Leonid Brezhnev
Preceded by
Nikolai Bulganin
Prime Minister of the Soviet Union
Succeeded by
Alexey Kosygin