KHRUSHCHEV DE-STALINIZING - 1956
Khrushchev's Secret Speech
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Khrushchev's Secret Speech.
It follows the English
translation of an excerpt transcript of Nikita Khrushchev's
Secret Speech, delivered at Moscow - February 25, 1956.
In the report of
the Central Committee of the party at the 20th
Congress, in a number of speeches by delegates
to the Congress, as also formerly during the
plenary CC/CPSU sessions, quite a lot has been
said about the cult of the individual and about
its harmful consequences.
death, the Central Committee of the Party began
to implement a policy of explaining concisely
and consistently that it is impermissible and
foreign to the spirit of Marxism-Leninism to
elevate one person, to transform him into a
superman possessing supernatural characteristics
akin to those of a god. Such a man supposedly
knows everything, sees everything, thinks for
everyone, can do anything, is infallible in his
Such a belief
about a man, and specifically about Stalin, was
cultivated among us for many years.
The objective of
the present report is not a thorough evaluation
of Stalin's life and activity. Concerning
Stalin's merits, an entirely sufficient number
of books, pamphlets and studies had already been
written in his lifetime. The role of Stalin in
the preparation and execution of the Socialist
Revolution, in the Civil war, and in the fight
for the construction of Socialism in our country
is universally known. Everyone knows this well.
At the present we are concerned with a question
which has immense importance for the Party now
and for the future.
We are concerned
with how the cult of the person of Stalin has
been gradually growing, the cult which became at
a certain specific stage the source of a whole
series of exceedingly serious and grave
perversions of Party principles, of Party
democracy, of revolutionary legality.
Because of the
fact that not all as yet realize fully the
practical consequences resulting from the cult
of the individual, the great harm caused by the
violation of the principle of collective
direction of the Party and because of the
accumulation of immense and limitless power in
the hands of one person, the Central Committee
of the Party considers it absolutely necessary
to make the material pertaining to this matter
available to the 20th Congress of the Communist
Party of the Soviet Union. . . .
Marxism does not
negate the role of the leaders of the workers'
class in directing the revolutionary liberation
great importance to the role of the leaders and
organizers of the masses, Lenin at the same time
mercilessly stigmatized every manifestation of
the cult of the individual, inexorably combated
the foreign-to-Marxism views about a "hero" and
a "crowd" and countered all efforts to oppose a
"hero" to the masses and to the people.
Lenin taught that
the Party's strength depends on its indissoluble
unity with the masses, on the fact that behind
the Party follow the people - workers, peasants,
and intelligentsia. "Only he will win and retain
the power," said Lenin, "who believes in the
people, who submerges himself in the mountain of
the living creativeness of the people."
Lenin spoke with
pride about the Bolshevik Communist Party as the
leader and teacher of the people. He called for
the presentation of all the most important
questions before the opinion of knowledgeable
workers, before the opinion of their Party. He
said: "We believe in it, we see in it the
wisdom, the honor, and the conscience of our
epoch." . . .
life, the Central Committee of the Party was a
real expression of collective leadership of the
Party and of the Nation. Being a militant
Marxist-revolutionist, always unyielding in
matters of principle, Lenin never imposed by
force his views upon his coworkers. He tried to
convince. He patiently explained his opinions to
others. Lenin always diligently observed that
the norms of party life were realized, that the
party statute was enforced, that the party
congresses and the plenary sessions of the
Central Committee took place at the proper
In addition to the great accomplishments of V.I.
Lenin for the victory of the working class and
of the working peasants, for the victory of our
Party and for the application of the ideas of
scientific Communism to life, his acute mind
expressed itself also in this, that he detected
in Stalin in time those negative characteristics
which resulted later in grave consequences.
Fearing the future fate of the Party and of the
Soviet nation, V.I. Lenin made a completely
correct characterization of Stalin, pointing out
that it was necessary to consider the question
of transferring Stalin from the position of
Secretary General because of the fact that
Stalin is excessively rude, that he does not
have a proper attitude toward his comrades, that
he is capricious, and abuses his power.
In December 1922,
in a letter to the Party Congress, Vladimir
Ilyich wrote: "After taking over the position of
Secretary General, Comrade Stalin accumulated in
his hands immeasurable power and I am not
certain whether he will always be able to use
this power with the required care."
This letter, a
political document of tremendous importance,
known in the Party history as Lenin's Testament,
was distributed among the delegates to the 20th
Party Congress. You have read it, and will
undoubtedly read it again more than once. You
might reflect on Lenin's plain words, in which
expression is given to Vladimir Ilyich's anxiety
concerning the Party, the people, the State, and
the future direction of Party policy.
said: "Stalin is excessively rude, and this
defect, which can be freely tolerated in our
midst and in contacts among us Communists,
becomes a defect which cannot be tolerated in
one holding the position of the Secretary
General. Because of this, I propose that the
comrades consider the method by which Stalin
would be removed from this position and by which
another man would be selected for it, a man, who
above all, would differ from Stalin in only one
quality, namely greater tolerance, greater
loyalty, greater kindness, and more considerate
attitude toward the comrades, a less capricious
This document of
Lenin's was made known to the delegates at the
13th Party Congress, who discussed the question
of transferring Stalin from the position of
Secretary General. The delegates declared
themselves in favor of retaining Stalin in this
post, hoping that he would heed the critical
remarks of Vladimir Ilyich and would be able to
overcome the defects which caused Lenin serious
As later events have proven, Lenin's anxiety was
justified. In the first period after Lenin's
death Stalin still paid attention to Lenin's
advice, but, later he began to disregard the
serious admonitions of Vladimir Ilyich.
When we analyze the practice of Stalin in regard
to the direction of the party and of the
country, when we pause to consider everything
which Stalin perpetrated, we must be convinced
that Lenin's fears were justified. The negative
characteristics of Stalin, which, in Lenin's
time, were only incipient, transformed
themselves during the last years into a grave
abuse of power by Stalin, which caused untold
harm to our Party. . . .
Stalin acted not through persuasion,
explanation, and patient cooperation with
people, but by imposing his concepts and
demanding absolute submission to his opinion.
Whoever opposed this concept, or tried to prove
his viewpoint and the correctness of his
position, was doomed to removal from the leading
collective and to subsequent moral and physical
annihilation. This was especially true during
the period following the 17th Party Congress,
when many prominent party leaders and
rank-and-file party workers, honest and
dedicated to the cause of Communism, fell victim
to Stalin's despotism. . . .
Stalin originated the concept enemy of the
people. This term automatically rendered it
unnecessary that the ideological errors of a man
or men engaged in a controversy be proven. This
term made possible the usage of the most cruel
repression, violating all norms of revolutionary
legality, against anyone who in any way
disagreed with Stalin, against those who were
only suspected of hostile intent, against those
who had bad reputations. This concept, enemy of
the people, actually eliminated the possibility
of any kind of ideological fight or the making
of one's views known on this or that issue, even
those of a practical character. In the main, and
in actuality, the only proof of guilt used,
against all norms of current legal science, was
the confession of the accused himself, and, as
subsequent probing proved, confessions were
acquired through physical pressures against the
accused. . . .
Lenin used severe methods only in the most
necessary cases, when the exploiting classes
were still in existence and were vigorously
opposing the revolution, when the struggle for
survival was decidedly assuming the sharpest
forms, even including a civil war.
Stalin, on the other hand, used extreme methods
and mass repressions at a time when the
revolution was already victorious, when the
Soviet state was strengthened, when the
exploiting classes were already liquidated, and
Socialist relations were rooted solidly in all
phases of national economy, when our party was
politically consolidated and had strengthened
itself both numerically and ideologically.
It is clear that
here Stalin showed in a whole series of cases
his intolerance, his brutality, and his abuse of
power. Instead of proving his political
correctness and mobilizing the masses, he often
chose the path of repression and physical
annihilation, not only against actual enemies,
but also against individuals who had not
committed any crimes against the Party and the
Soviet Government. Here we see no wisdom but
only a demonstration of the brutal force which
had once so alarmed V.I Lenin. . . .
Considering the question of the cult of an
individual we must first of all show everyone
what harm this caused to the interests of our
party. . . .
In practice Stalin ignored the norms of party
life and trampled on the Leninist principle of
collective party leadership.
Stalin's willfulness vis-à-vis the Party and its
Central Committee became fully evident after the
17th Party Congress, which took place in 1934. .
It was determined that of the 139 members and
candidates of the Party's Central Committee who
were elected at the 17th congress, 98 persons,
that is, 70 percent, were arrested and shot,
mostly in 1937 to 1938. [Indignation in the
hall.] . . .
The same fate met not only the Central Committee
members but also the majority of the delegates
to the 17th Party Congress. Of 1,966 delegates
with either voting or advisory rights, 1,108
persons were arrested on charges of
anti-revolutionary crimes, i.e. decidedly more
than a majority. This very fact shows how
absurd, wild, and contrary to common sense were
the charges of counter-revolutionary crimes made
out, as we now see, against a majority of
participants at the 17th party congress.
[Indignation in the hall.] . . .
What is the reason that mass repressions against
activists increased more and more after the 17th
party congress? It was because at that time
Stalin had so elevated himself above the Party
and above the Nation that he ceased to consider
either the Central Committee or the Party. While
he still reckoned with the opinion of the
collective before the 17th Congress, after the
complete political liquidation of the
Trotskyites, Zinovievites and Bukharinites, when
as a result of that fight and Socialist
victories the party achieved unity, Stalin
ceased to an ever greater degree to consider the
members of the Party's Central Committee and
even the members of the Political Bureau.
that now he could decide all things alone and
all he needed were statisticians. He treated all
others in such a way that they could only listen
to him and praise him.
After the criminal murder of S. M. Kirov, mass
repressions and brutal acts of violation of
Socialist legality began. On the evening of
December 1, 1934, on Stalin's initiative, and
without the approval of the Political Bureau,
which was passed two days later, casually, the
Secretary of the Presidium of the Central
Executive Committee, Yenukidze, signed the
Investigative agencies are directed to speed
up the cases of those accused of the
preparation or execution of acts of terror.
II. Judicial organs are directed not to hold
up the execution of death sentences
pertaining to crimes of this category in
order to consider the possibility of pardon,
because the Presidium of the Central
Executive Committee, U.S.S.R, does not
consider the receiving of petitions of this
sort as possible.
III. The organs of the Commissariat of
Internal Affairs are directed to execute the
death sentences against criminals of the
above mentioned category immediately after
the passage of sentences.
This directive became the basis for mass acts of
abuse against Socialist legality. During many of
the fabricated court cases the accused were
charged with "the preparation" of terroristic
acts. This deprived them of any possibility that
their cases might be reexamined, even when they
stated before the Court that their confessions
were secured by force, and when, in a convincing
manner, they disproved the accusations against
them. . . .
Mass repressions grew tremendously from the end
of 1936 after a telegram from Stalin and
Zhdanov, dated from Sochi on September 25, 1936,
was addressed to Kaganovich, Molotov, and other
members of the Political Bureau. The content of
the telegram was as follows: "We deem it
absolutely necessary and urgent that Comrade
Yezhov be nominated to the post of People's
Commissar for Internal Affairs. Yagoda has
definitely proved himself to be incapable of
unmasking the Trotskyite-Zinovievite bloc. The
OGPU is 4 years behind in this matter. This is
noted by all party workers and by the majority
of the representatives of the NKVD." Strictly
speaking we should stress that Stalin did not
meet with and therefore could not know the
opinion of party workers. . . .
The mass repressions at this time were made
under the slogan of a fight against the
Trotskyites. Did the Trotskyites at this time
actually constitute such a danger to our Party
and to the Soviet state? We should recall that
in 1927, on the eve of the 15th Party Congress,
only some 4,000 votes were cast for the
Trotskyite-Zinovievite opposition, while there
were 724,000 for the party line. During the 10
years which passed between the 15th Party
Congress and the February-March central
committee plenum, Trotskyism was completely
disarmed. Many former Trotskyites had changed
their former views and worked in the various
sectors building Socialism. It is clear that in
the situation of Socialist victory there was no
basis for mass terror in the country . . . .
The majority of the Central Committee members
and candidates elected at the 17th Congress and
arrested in 1937 to 1938 were expelled from the
Party illegally through the brutal abuse of the
Party statute, because the question of their
expulsion was never studied at the Central
Now when the cases of some of these so-called
spies and saboteurs were examined it was found
that all their cases were fabricated.
Confessions of guilt of many arrested and
charged with enemy activity were gained with the
help of cruel and inhuman tortures. . . .
An example of vile provocation of odious
falsification and of criminal violation of
revolutionary legality is the case of the former
candidate for the Central Committee Political
Bureau, one of the most eminent workers of the
Party and of the Soviet Government, Comrade
Eikhe, who was a party member since 1905.
[Commotion in the hall.]
Comrade Eikhe was arrested on April 29, 1938, on
the basis of slanderous materials, without the
sanction of the prosecutor of the USSR, which
was finally received 15 months after the arrest.
Investigation of Eikhe's case was made in a
manner which most brutally violated Soviet
legality and was accompanied by willfulness and
falsification. Eikhe was forced under torture to
sign ahead of time a protocol of his confession
prepared by the investigative judges, in which
he and several other eminent party workers were
accused of anti-Soviet activity.
On October 1, 1939, Eikhe sent his declaration
to Stalin in which he categorically denied his
guilt and asked for an examination of his case.
In the declaration he wrote: "There is no more
bitter misery than to sit in the jail of a
government for which I have always fought.". . .
On February 2, 1940, Eikhe was brought before
the court. Here he did not confess any guilt and
said as follows: "In all the so-called
confessions of mine there is not one letter
written by me with the exception of my
signatures under the protocols which were forced
from me. I have made my confession under
pressure from the investigative judge who from
the time of my arrest tormented me. After that I
began to write all this nonsense. The most
important thing for me is to tell the court, the
Party and Stalin that I am not guilty. I have
never been guilty of any conspiracy. I will die
believing in the truth of party policy as I have
believed in it during my whole life."
On February 4, Eikhe was shot. [Indignation in
the hall.] It has been definitely established
now that Eikhe's case was fabricated. He has
been posthumously rehabilitated. . . .
The way in which the former NKVD workers
manufactured various fictitious "anti-Soviet
centers" and "blocs" with the help of
provocatory methods is seen from the confession
of Comrade Rozenblum, party member since 1906,
who was arrested in 1937 by the Leningrad NKVD.
During the examination in 1955 of the Kornarov
case, Rozenblum revealed the following fact.
When Rozenblum was arrested in 1937 he was
subjected to terrible torture during which he
was ordered to confess false information
concerning himself and other persons. He was
then brought to the office of Zakovsky, who
offered him freedom on condition that he make
before the court a false confession fabricated
in 1937 by the NKVD concerning "sabotage,
espionage and diversion in a terroristic center
in Leningrad." [Movement in the hall.] . . .
"You, yourself," said Zakovskv, "will not need
to invent anything. The NKVD will prepare for
you a ready outline for every branch of the
center. You will have to study it carefully and
to remember well all questions and answers which
the court might ask. This case will be ready in
4 to 5 months, or perhaps a half year. During
all this time you will be preparing yourself so
that you will not compromise the investigation
and yourself. Your future will depend on how the
trial goes and on its results. If you begin to
lie and to testify falsely, blame yourself. If
you manage to endure it, you will save your head
and we will feed and clothe you at the
government's cost until your death."
This is the kind
of vile things which were then practiced.
[Movement in the hall.] . .
When we look at many of our novels, films, and
historical scientific studies, the role of
Stalin in the Patriotic War appears to be
entirely improbable. Stalin had foreseen
everything. The Soviet Army, on the basis of a
strategic plan prepared by Stalin long before,
used the tactics of so-called active defense,
i.e. tactics which, as we know, allowed the
Germans to come up to Moscow and Stalingrad.
tactics, the Soviet Army, supposedly, thanks
only to Stalin's genius, turned to the offensive
and subdued the enemy. The epic victory gained
through the armed might of the land of the
Soviets, through our heroic people, is ascribed
in this type of novel, film, and scientific
study as being completely due to the strategic
genius of Stalin.
We have to analyze this matter carefully because
it has a tremendous significance, not only from
the historical but especially from the
political, educational, and practical point of
view. . . .
During the war and after the war, Stalin put
forward the thesis that the tragedy which our
nation experienced in the first part of the war
was the result of the unexpected attack of the
Germans against the Soviet Union. But, comrades,
this is completely untrue.
As soon as Hitler
came to power in Germany he assigned to himself
the task of liquidating Communism. The Fascists
were saying this openly. They did not hide their
plans. In order to attain this aggressive end,
all sorts of pacts and blocs were created, such
as the famous Berlin-Rome-Tokyo Axis. Many facts
from the prewar period clearly showed that
Hitler was going all out to begin a war against
the Soviet state and that he had concentrated
large armed units, together with armored units,
near the Soviet borders. . . .
We must assert that information of this sort
concerning the threat of German armed invasion
of Soviet territory was coming in also from our
own military and diplomatic sources. However,
because the leadership was conditioned against
such information, such data was dispatched with
fear and assessed with reservation. . . .
Despite these particularly grave warnings, the
necessary steps were not taken to prepare the
country properly for defense and to prevent it
from being caught unaware.
Did we have time and the capabilities for such
preparations? Yes. We had the time and
capabilities. Our industry was already so
developed that it was capable of supplying fully
the Soviet Army with everything that it needed.
. . .
Had our industry been mobilized properly and in
time to supply the army with the necessary
materiel, our wartime losses would have been
decidedly smaller. Such mobilization had not
been, however, started in time. And already in
the first days of the war it became evident that
our Army was badly armed, that we did not have
enough artillery, tanks, and planes to throw the
enemy back. . . .
Very grievous consequences, especially in
reference to the beginning of the war, followed
Stalin's annihilation of many military
commanders and political workers during 1937 to
1941 because of his suspiciousness and through
During these years
repressions were instituted against certain
parts of military cadres beginning literally at
the company and battalion commander level and
extending to the higher military centers. During
this time the cadre of leaders who had gained
military experience in Spain and in the Far East
was almost completely liquidated. . . .
After the conclusion of the Patriotic War the
Soviet nation stressed with pride the
magnificent victories gained through great
sacrifices and tremendous efforts. The country
experienced a period of political enthusiasm.
The party came out of the war even more united.
In the fire of the war party cadres were
tempered and hardened. Under such conditions
nobody could have even thought of the
possibility of some plot in the Party.
And it was precisely at this time that the
so-called Leningrad Affair was born. As we have
now proven, this case was fabricated. Those who
innocently lost their lives included Comrades
Voznesensky, Kuznetsov, Rodionov, Popkov, and
others. . . .
Facts prove that the Leningrad Affair is also
the result of willfulness which Stalin exercised
against party cadres. . . .
We must state that after the war the situation
became even more complicated. Stalin became even
more capricious, irritable, and brutal. In
particular his suspicion grew. His persecution
mania reached unbelievable dimensions. Many
workers were becoming enemies before his very
eyes. After the war Stalin separated himself
from the collective even more. Everything was
decided by him alone without any consideration
for anyone or anything.
This unbelievable suspicion was cleverly taken
advantage of by the abject provocateur and vile
enemy, Beriya, who had murdered thousands of
Communists and loyal Soviet people. The
elevation of Voznesensky and Kuznetsov alarmed
Beriya. As we have now proven, it had been
precisely Beriya who had suggested to Stalin the
fabrication by him and by his confidants of
materials in the form of declarations and
anonymous letters, and in the form of various
rumors and talks. . . .
The question arises: Why is it that we see the
truth of this affair only now, and why did we
not do something earlier, during Stalin's life,
in order to prevent the loss of innocent lives?
It was because Stalin personally supervised the
Leningrad Affair, and the majority of the
Political Bureau members did not, at that time,
know all of the circumstances in these matters,
and could not therefore intervene. . . .
The willfulness of Stalin showed itself not only
in decisions concerning the internal life of the
country but also in the international relations
of the Soviet Union.
The July plenum of the Central Committee studied
in detail the reasons for the development of
conflict with Yugoslavia. It was a shameful role
which Stalin played here. The Yugoslav Affair
contained no problems which could not have been
solved through party discussions among comrades.
There was no significant basis for the
development of this affair. It was completely
possible to have prevented the rupture of
relations with that country.
I recall the first days when the conflict
between the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia began
artificially to be blown up. Once, when I carne
from Kiev to Moscow, I was invited to visit
Stalin who, pointing to the copy of a letter
lately sent to Tito, asked me, "Have you read
Not waiting for my reply he answered, "I will
shake my little finger and there will be no more
Tito. He will fall.". . .
But this did not happen to Tito. No matter how
much or how little Stalin shook, not only his
little finger but everything else that be could
shake, Tito did not fall. Why? The reason was
that, in this case of disagreement with the
Yugoslav comrades, Tito had behind him a state
and a people who had gone through a severe
school of fighting for liberty and independence,
a people which gave support to its leaders.
You see to what Stalin's mania for greatness
led. He had completely lost consciousness of
reality. He demonstrated his suspicion and
haughtiness not only in relation to individuals
in the USSR, but in relation to whole parties
and nations. . . .
Let us also recall the affair of the doctor
plotters [Doctors' Plot, 1953]. [Animation in
Actually there was
no affair outside of the declaration of the
woman doctor Timasbuk, who was probably
influenced or ordered by someone - after all,
she was an unofficial collaborator of the organs
of state security - to write Stalin a letter in
which she declared that doctors were applying
supposedly improper methods of medical
Such a letter was sufficient for Stalin to reach
an immediate conclusion that there are doctor
plotters in the Soviet Union. He issued orders
to arrest a group of eminent Soviet medical
specialists. He personally issued advice on the
conduct of the investigation and the method of
interrogation of the arrested persons. He said
that the academician Vinogradov should be put in
chains, another one should be beaten. Present at
this Congress as a delegate is the former
Minister of State Security Comrade Ignatiev.
Stalin told him curtly, "If you do not obtain
confessions from the doctors we will shorten you
by a head." [Tumult in the hall.] . . .
In organizing the various dirty and shameful
cases, a very base role was played by the rabid
enemy of our party, an agent of a foreign
intelligence service, Beriya, who had stolen
into Stalin's confidence.
In what way could
this provocateur gain such a position in the
Party, and in the State, so as to become the
First Deputy Chairman of the Council of
Ministers of the Soviet Union and a member of
the Central Committee Political Bureau? It has
now been established that this villain had
climbed up the government ladder over an untold
number of corpses.
Were there any signs that Beriya was an enemy of
the Party? Yes, there were. Already in 1937, at
a Central Committee plenum, former People's
Commissar of Health Protection Kaminsky said
that Beriya worked for the Mussavat intelligence
service. But the Central Committee plenum had
barely concluded when Kaminsky was arrested and
then shot. Had Stalin examined Kaminsky's
statement? No, because Stalin believed in Beriya
and that was enough for him. And when Stalin
believed in anyone or anything, then no one
could say anything which was contrary to his
opinion. Anyone who would dare to express
opposition would have met the same fate as
Kaminsky. . . .
Comrades, the cult of the individual acquired
such monstrous size chiefly because Stalin
himself, using all conceivable methods,
supported the glorification of his own person.
This is supported by numerous facts. One of the
most characteristic examples of Stalin's
self-glorification and of his lack of even
elementary modesty is the edition of his Short
Biography, which was published in 1948.
This book is an expression of the most dissolute
flattery, an example of making a man into a
godhead, of transforming him into an infallible
sage, "the greatest leader," "sublime strategist
of all times and nations." Finally no other
words could be found with which to lift Stalin
up to the heavens. We need not give here
examples of the loathsome adulation filling this
book. All we need to add is that they all were
approved and edited by Stalin personally and
some of them were added in his own handwriting
to the draft text of the book. . . .
Comrades, if we sharply criticize today the cult
of the individual which was so widespread during
Stalin's life and if we speak about the many
negative phenomena generated by this cult which
is so alien to the spirit of Marxism-Leninism,
various persons may ask: How could it be?
Stalin headed the
Party and the country for thirty years and many
victories were gained during his lifetime. Can
we deny this? In my opinion, the question can be
asked in this manner only by those who are
blinded and hopelessly hypnotized by the cult of
the individual, only by those who do not
understand the essence of the revolution and of
the Soviet State, only by those who do not
understand, in a Leninist manner, the role of
the Party and of the Nation in the development
of the Soviet society. . . .
Our historical victories were attained thanks to
the organizational work of the Party, to the
many provincial organizations, and to the
self-sacrificing work of our great Nation. These
victories are the result of the great drive and
activity of the Nation and of the Party as a
whole. They are not at all the fruit of the
leadership of Stalin, as the situation was
pictured during the period of the cult of the
individual. . . .
Let us consider the first Central Committee
plenum after the 19th Party Congress when
Stalin, in his talk at the plenum, characterized
Vyacheslav Mikhailovich Molotov and Anastas
Ivanovich Mikoyan, and suggested that these old
workers of our Party were guilty of some
baseless charges. It is not excluded that had
Stalin remained at the helm for another several
months, Comrades Molotov and Mikoyan would
probably have not delivered any speeches at this
Stalin evidently had plans to finish off the old
members of the Political Bureau. He often stated
that Political Bureau members should be replaced
by new ones. . . .
We can assume that this was also a design for
the future annihilation of the old Political
Bureau members and in this way a cover for all
shameful acts of Stalin, acts which we are now
Comrades, in order not to repeat errors of the
past, the Central Committee has declared itself
resolutely against the cult of the individual.
We consider that Stalin was excessively
extolled. However, in the past Stalin doubtless
performed great services to the Party, to the
working class, and to the international workers'
movement. . . .
We should in all seriousness consider the
question of the cult of the individual. We
cannot let this matter get out of the Party,
especially not to the press. It is for this
reason that we are considering it here at a
closed congress session. We should know the
limits. We should not give ammunition to the
enemy. We should not wash our dirty linen before
their eyes. I think that the delegates to the
Congress will understand and assess properly all
these proposals. [Tumultuous applause.]
Comrades, we must abolish the cult of the
individual decisively, once and for all. We must
draw the proper conclusions concerning both
ideological, theoretical, and practical work.
It is necessary for this purpose:
First, in a
Bolshevik manner to condemn and to eradicate
the cult of the individual as alien to
Marxism-Leninism and not consonant with the
principles of party leadership and the norms
of party life, and to fight inexorably all
attempts at bringing back this practice in
one form or another.
To return to and actually practice in all
our ideological work the most important
theses of Marxist-Leninist science about the
people as the creator of history and as the
creator of all material and spiritual good
of humanity, about the decisive role of the
Marxist party in the revolutionary fight for
the transformation of society, about the
victory of Communism.
In this connection we will be forced to do
much work in order to examine critically
from the Marxist-Leninist viewpoint and to
correct the widely spread erroneous views
connected with the cult of the individual in
the sphere of history, philosophy, economy,
and of other sciences, as well as in the
literature and in the fine arts.
especially necessary that in the immediate
future we compile a serious textbook of the
history of our Party which will be edited in
accordance with scientific Marxist
objectivism, a textbook of the history of
Soviet society, a book pertaining to the
events of the civil war and the Great
Secondly, to continue systematically and
consistently the work done by the Party's
Central Committee during the last years, a
work characterized by minute observation in
all party organizations, from the bottom to
the top of the Leninist principles of party
leadership, characterized, above all, by the
main principle of collective leadership,
characterized by the observation of the
norms of party life described in the
statutes of our Party, and finally,
characterized by the wide practice of
criticism and self-criticism.
Thirdly, to restore completely the Leninist
principles of Soviet Socialist democracy,
expressed in the constitution of the Soviet
Union, to fight willfulness of individuals
abusing their power. The evil caused by acts
violating revolutionary Socialist legality
which have accumulated during a long time as
a result of the negative influence of the
cult of the individual has to be completely
Comrades, the 20th Congress of the Communist
Party of the Soviet Union has manifested with a
new strength the unshakable unity of our Party,
its cohesiveness around the Central Committee,
its resolute will to accomplish the great task
of building communism. [Tumultuous applause.]
And the fact that
we present in all the ramifications the basic
problems of overcoming the cult of the
individual which is alien to Marxism-Leninism,
as well as the problem of liquidating its
burdensome consequences, is an evidence of the
great moral and political strength of our Party.
We are absolutely certain that our Party, armed
with the historical resolutions of the 20th
Congress, will lead the Soviet people along the
Leninist path to new successes, to new
victories. [Tumultuous, prolonged applause.]
Long live the victorious banner of our Party -
Leninism! [Tumultuous, prolonged applause ending
in ovation. All rise.]