Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Power Vertical

Podcast: The Khrushchev Legacy

Nikita Khrushchev as Soviet leader (left) and in retirement with great-granddaughter Nina and granddaughter Julia.
Nikita Khrushchev as Soviet leader (left) and in retirement with great-granddaughter Nina and granddaughter Julia.
It began with an offhanded -- and insensitive -- comment an old man made to a teenage girl at an elite Soviet retirement complex on a warm spring day back in 1981.

And it ended more than three decades later with an exploration into a famous family's hidden history -- and an examination of a nation's tortured soul.

The old man was Vyacheslav Molotov, Josef Stalin's ruthless and powerful foreign minister. And the teenaged girl was Nina Khruscheva, great-granddaughter of the former Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev -- Stalin's successor and Molotov's bitter rival.

The book that conversation ultimately inspired, "The Lost Khrushchev: A Journey Into The Gulag of the Russian Mind," was recently published in the United States. And on the latest Power Vertical Podcast, we discuss it -- and the Khrushchev legacy's relevance to today's Russia -- with the author.

Joining me are Nina Khrushcheva, a professor at the New School, and Merhat Sharipzhan, a senior correspondent and analyst for RFE/RL's Central Newsroom.

Power Vertical Podcast -- June 13, 2014
Power Vertical Podcast -- June 13, 2014i
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Listen to or download the podcast above or subscribe to "The Power Vertical Podcast" on iTunes.

Tags: Nikita Khrushchev

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Comment Sorting
by: Mamuka
June 14, 2014 21:07
Very interesting how Khushcheva, daughter of a deposed-yet-still-privileged family, and Merkhatjan, from a "small village in Kazakhstan," could have shared experiences from the Soviet era.

Would have liked to have heard some comments from Merkhat about the "Virgin Lands" project in Central Asia which supposedly helped lead to Nikita Sergeich's downfall. Maybe it did not impact local people so much and was just a Kremlin intriga.

by: parvenu from: US
June 15, 2014 01:41
Listened to the tedious hour-long interview with Kruschev's great granddaughter (who now lives in the US). Surprisingly there was no mention of the Cuban missile crisis which that lunatic Khruschev precipitated. This almost started a world war as you know. Luckily the Kremlin sent the talented Anastas Mikoyan to Cuba to reason with Castro and defuse the tensions. In fact that was one of the main reasons why Khrushchev was voted out of party leadership soon after, the only soviet leader in history to be deposed. Instead we heard about washing machines he imported from the US!

by: Konstantin from: Los Angeles
June 15, 2014 03:31
Khrushchev was one of gang of Russian Nazis, from Donetck,
Master of "Golodomors" in East Ukraine - like Terrorists
That taking over Donetck at present.
He also was member of USSR government, canning, but not
too bright, or too brave - he offered Stalin in 1941 run from Moscow from, as he thought, coming Germans - Stalin turned
it into a joke, saving Khrushchev from trigger-happy Russia.
However, to save his skin during 1953-56 Russian Nazi
takeover, and expressing his envy and "pride" of a little man,
he bitterly accused Stalin in "cult of personality", because he
didn't run with Khrushchev in 1941, ignoring "Great Russian" like a "little man".
I don't hold against him his feelings, it is only human, but his
actions and he was only small bit in Varag-Prussak evil deeds.

Temporary USSR, before 1936, was Common Wealth,
badly damaged by Czar's and Lenin's invade-genocide.
Lenin was man and muss murderer, retired in mental institution. Socialists asked Stalin, only educated, honest
and brilliant man they knew, be their advisor - he offered
CIS, free election, democracy, abolished death penalty,
offered industrialization, education and health, and so on.
Russia had government of Russia and didn't want pull out
of non-Russian countries, usurping power on the ground.
Parliament of Nations and Stalin had only positive influence
and advisory.
It was dualist rule that Russia used to play with British, bring
Hitler to power, promised and delivered to Hitler "Cristal night" in Germany and USSR, against Jews, Pols and Georgians,
gave him Messershmidt and other ressources, disarmed
USSR armies, sabotaged Siberian Divisions in 1941 Moscow
and refused defend it.
In view of 1941 genocide against Russians, they agreed to fight, but with control over army command.
Stalin promised closed case of treason of Russian Federation,
if they would honestly fight war, as they did, but not quite.
At the end of the war they partially disarmed and killed with help of Germans most of national battalions, regiments, divisions and two armies, Ukrainian and Polish.

In 1946 Moscow Varag-Prussak started kill non-Russian children, I was one of the first, infected with TB.
In 1947, my mother and I sentenced to death - I refused
be plagiarized slave, at age 4.
In 1947, Stalin put under house arrest - to start age of plagiarism, offering it to British and USA leaders, and
to reverse restoration of CIS - to influx ethnic Russians,
during period 1949-54.
In 1954-56 Russians made pact with Bechtel and British to
resurrect empires and divide the World again, also they murdered about 150,000 non-Russians, mostly Georgians,
to close their mouth and to lie to the Civilized World, also
Bechtel gave them secretly technology to produce many small
A-bombs, to bomb republics, if resist Russian invasions.
Blaming Beria wasn't enough.
Talking about WW2 betray increased.
Russians had move fast.
After number of cleansing Khrushchev, one of the gang, eager
to cry about 1941 "insult" to his persona, took on Stalin and
non-Russian nations - aiming to resurrect empire -
First Bolshevik empire, than Bolshevik-Russian empire,
finally Feudal empire based on serfs and race genocide against non-Russians.
All Khrushchev lies were ridiculously idiotic.
All lies were re-battled and proven to be lies.
They still lie, idiotic - but we are few and they are many.

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17:49 October 24, 2014


From RFE/RL's News Desk:


Russian President Vladimir Putin has accused the United States of escalating conflicts around the world by imposing what he called a "unilateral diktat."

Putin made the remarks in a combative speech to political experts at the Valdai International Discussion Club, in Russia's Black Sea resort of Sochi.

Putin said the United States has been "fighting against the results of its own policy" in Iraq, Libya and Syria.

He said risks of serious conflicts involving major countries have risen, as well as risks of arms treaties being violated.

He also dismissed international sanctions over Russia's actions in Ukraine as a "mistake," saying they aimed at pushing Russia into isolation and would end up "hurting everyone."

We did not start this," he added, referring to rising tensions between Russia and the West.

(Based on reporting by Reuters, AP, Interfax, TASS)


German Chancellor Angela Merkel has urged Russian President Vladimir Putin in a telephone call to push for a quick resolution of the ongoing gas dispute with Ukraine as winter looms.

The call by Merkel to Putin on October 24 comes as representatives of the EU, Russia, and Ukraine are due to meet again next week in EU brokered talks aimed at solving the gas dispute between Kyiv and Moscow.

Merkel also underlined that upcoming elections in areas of eastern Ukraine controlled by Russian-backed separatists must respect Ukrainian national law.

Pro-Russian insurgent leaders are boycotting a parliamentary snap poll on October 26 in Ukraine and are holding their own election in the Lugansk and Donetsk regions, home to nearly three million people, on the same day instead.

(Based on reporting by AFP and Reuters)



The United Nations says the conflict in Ukraine has forced more than 800,000 people from their homes.

Around 95 percent of displaced people come from eastern Ukraine, where government troops have been battling pro-Russian separatists.

UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, told a briefing in Geneva that an estimated 430,000 people were currently displaced within Ukraine -- 170,000 more than at the start of September.

It said at least 387,000 other people have asked for refugee status, temporary asylum, or other forms of residency permits in Russia.

Another 6,600 have applied for asylum in the European Union and 581 in Belarus.

The agency said it was "racing to help some of the most vulnerable displaced people" as winter approaches.

It also said the number of displaced people is expected to rise further due to ongoing fighting in eastern Ukraine.


Three alleged militants have been killed by security forces in Russia's volatile North Caucasus region.

Russia's National Antiterrorism Committee says that two suspects were killed in the village of Charoda in Daghestan on October 24 after they refused to leave an apartment and opened fire at police and security troops.

One police officer was wounded.

Also on October 24, police in another North Caucasus region, Kabardino-Balkaria, killed a suspected militant after he refused to identify himself, threw a grenade towards police, and opened fire with a pistol.

A police officer was wounded in that incident.

Violence is common in Russia's North Caucasus region, which includes the restive republics of Daghestan, Kabardino-Balkaria, Ingushetia, and Chechnya.

Islamic militants and criminal groups routinely target Russian military personnel and local officials.

(Based on reporting by Interfax and TASS)


A lawyer, who represented an alleged victim of the notorious Orekhovo criminal group in Moscow, has been assassinated.

Police in the Russian capital say that Vitaly Moiseyev and his wife were found dead with gunshot wounds in a car near Moscow on October 24.

Moiseyev was representing Sergei Zhurba, an alleged victim of the Orekhovo gang and a key witness in a case against one of the gang's leaders Dmitry Belkin.

Belkin was sentenced to life in prison on October 23 for multiple murders and extortion.

Last month, another of Zhurba's lawyers, Tatyana Akimtseva (eds: a woman), was shot dead by unknown individuals.

The Orekhovo group was one of the most powerful crime gangs of the Moscow region and in Russia in the 1990s. Its members are believed to be responsible for dozens of murders.

(Based on reporting by TASS and Interfax)

17:27 October 24, 2014


17:26 October 24, 2014


17:00 October 24, 2014
08:29 October 24, 2014


From RFE/RL's News Desk:


Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk is warning that Russia could attempt to disrupt Ukraine's parliamentary elections scheduled for October 26.

Yatsenyuk told a meeting of top security officials and election monitors on October 23 that "It is absolutely clear that attempts to destabilize the situation will continue and will be provoked by Russia."

Yatsenyuk said "we are in a state of Russian aggression and we have before us one more challenge -- to hold parliamentary elections."

The prime minister said Ukraine needs the "full mobilization of the entire law-enforcement system to prevent violations of the election process and attempts at terrorist acts during the elections."

Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said authorities have ordered some 82,000 policemen on duty for election day.

He said 4,000 members of a special reaction force would be among those maintaining order during polling hours and would be concentrated in "those precincts where there is a risk of some terrorist acts or aggressive actions by some...candidates."

The warning by Yatsenyuk comes on the heels of three violent attacks on parliamentary candidates in the past week.

The latest, against Volodymyr Borysenko, a member of Yatsenyuk's People's Front Party, occurred on October 20 when Borysenko was shot at and had an explosive thrown at him.

He allegedly survived the attack only because he was wearing body armor due to numerous death threats he had recently received.

Elections to the Verkhovna Rada, the parliament, will be held despite continued fighting in the eastern part of the country between Ukrainian government forces and pro-Russian separatists.

Voting will not take place in 14 districts of eastern Ukraine currently under the control of the separatists.

Those separatist-held areas -- in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions -- are planning on holding their own elections in November.

Additionally, Russia's illegal annexation of Crimea in March means the loss of 12 seats from the 450-seat parliament.

Polls show President Petro Poroshenko's party leading with some 30 percent of respondents saying they would cast their vote for the Petro Poroshenko Bloc.

It that percentage holds on election day it would mean Poroshenko's bloc would have to form a coalition government, likely with nationalist groups who oppose conducting peace talks over fighting in the east.

(Based on reporting by Reuters and Interfax)



Moscow has denied claims of an incursion by a Russian military plane into Estonia's airspace.

A Russian Defense Ministry spokesman told Interfax news agency on October 23 that the Ilyushin-20 took off from Khrabrovo airfield in the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad on October 21.

The spokesman said the reconnaissance plane flew "over neutral waters of the Baltic Sea" while on a training flight.

On October 22, Estonia’s Foreign Ministry summoned the Russian ambassador in Tallinn, Yury Merzlakov, after the Estonian military said the Russian plane had entered its air space.

In a statement, NATO said the Ilyushin-20 was first intercepted by Danish jets when it approached Denmark, before flying toward non-NATO member Sweden.

Intercepted by Swedish planes, the alliance said the Ilyushin entered Estonian airspace for “less than one minute” and was escorted out by Portuguese jets.

NATO has stepped up its Baltic air patrols and Moscow has been accused of several recent border violations in the region amid heightened tensions between Russia and the West over the Ukraine conflict.

Last month, Estonia accused Russia of abducting one of its police officers on the border.

Russia claims Eston Kohver was seized inside Russia on September 5, while Estonian officials say he was captured at gunpoint in Estonia near the border and taken to Russia.

The European Union and United States have called for the immediate release of the Estonian security official, who is facing espionage charges in Russia.

Meanwhile, the Swedish Navy has been searching for a suspected submarine sighted six days ago some 50 kilometers from the capital, Stockholm, although it said on October 22 it was pulling back some of its ships.

Swedish officials have not linked any particular country to the suspected intrusion and Moscow has denied involvement.

(With reporting by Interfax, TASS, and the BBC)


A Moscow court postponed to next week a ruling on a move to take control of Bashneft, an oil company from tycoon Vladimir Yevtushenkov.

The judge said on October 23 that the next hearing will take place on October 30 after the prosecution requested more time to prepare its case.

Prosecutors filed the suit in September to regain state ownership of Bashneft, citing alleged violations in the privatization and subsequent sale of the company to AFK Sistema investment group.

Yevtushenkov, the main shareholder of the conglomerate, is under house arrest on suspicion of money laundering during the firm's acquisition in 2009.

Yevtushenkov, 66, was arrested on September 16.

He is ranked Russia's 15th richest man by U.S. magazine Forbes, with an estimated fortune of $9 billion.

(Based on reporting by Reuters and TASS)

11:11 October 23, 2014


According to a report in the pro-Kremlin daily "Izvestia," deputy Kremlin chief of staff Vyacheslav Volodin told a meeting of the Valdai Discussion Club in Sochi that Western politicians "do not understand the essence of Russia."

"Volodin stated the key thesis about the current state of our country: As long as there is Putin there is Russia. If there is no Putin, there is no Russia," Konstantin Kostin, head of the Foundation for the Development of Civil Society, told "Izvestia."

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The Power Vertical is a blog written especially for Russia wonks and obsessive Kremlin watchers by Brian Whitmore. It covers emerging and developing trends in Russian politics, shining a spotlight on the high-stakes power struggles, machinations, and clashing interests that shape Kremlin policy today. Check out The Power Vertical Facebook page or