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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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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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The Power Vertical is a blog written especially for Russia wonks and obsessive Kremlin watchers by Brian Whitmore. It offers Brian's personal take on 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