Table of contents:
- 1. Lazar Kaganovich (1893-1991)
- 2. Vyacheslav Molotov (1890-1986)
- 3.Sergey Kirov (1886-1934)
- 4. Clement Voroshilov (1881-1969)
- 5. Lavrenty Beria (1899-1953)
At some point in his reign, the leader trusted these people as himself. However, this did not last long.
1. Lazar Kaganovich (1893-1991)
Lazar Kaganovich and Joseph Stalin
Even Lenin trusted Kaganovich with the most responsible posts. Stalin appointed the executive and tough Lazar to implement the most important state tasks - to carry out collectivization, to improve the work of railways, to rebuild all of Moscow and to build the Moscow metro. Until 1955, the metropolitan subway even bore the name of Kaganovich, and only then - Lenin.
Kaganovich enthusiastically took up everything, and his main trump card was to instill fear in people. He actively fought against "pests" in all areas and even saw spies among train drivers.
It was Kaganovich who contributed to Khrushchev's party career, but after Stalin's death, Kaganovich did not support Khrushchev's candidacy for the first person of the state. Khrushchev accused him of complicity in repressions and Stalinist terror, removed him from high posts, and then completely deprived him of his party card.
For the last 30 years, Kaganovich has lived alone. Absolutely everyone turned away from the once omnipotent man, but he remained faithful to his convictions and personally to Stalin to the end.
2. Vyacheslav Molotov (1890-1986)
Molotov and Stalin in 1937 - Anatoly Garanin / Sputnik
Stalin was the first of the Bolsheviks whom Molotov met. After Lenin's death, Molotov supported Stalin in the internal party power struggle. Stalin entrusted Molotov with dealing with issues of defense, industrialization and economic growth. He was also responsible for the forced rates and standards of five-year plans in industry, and together with Kaganovich carried out collectivization. Molotov also signed the "execution lists" of people whom the party considered harmful members of society.
Molotov is best known throughout the world as the People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs. In 1939, he concluded a non-aggression pact with Germany, known as the "Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact", Stalin trusted Molotov to carry out all diplomatic negotiations during World War II.
After Stalin's death, Molotov led the internal party struggle against Khrushchev. But when he strengthened his position in power, he deprived Molotov of high posts, and later of his party card, as well as of Kaganovich, for his role in the crimes of the Stalinist regime.
However, in 1986, Molotov achieved reinstatement in the ranks of party members and became the oldest of them - in the same year he died, a little before he was 97 years old.
3.Sergey Kirov (1886-1934)
Kirov, Stalin and Stalin's daughter Svetlana Alliluyeva. 1930s - Photo from the personal archive of E. Kovalenko / Sputnik
Vyacheslav Molotov argued that Kirov was Stalin's favorite comrade-in-arms. Kirov joined the Bolsheviks only after they carried out the October Revolution of 1917. Prior to that, he had "connections" with another wing of the party - the Mensheviks. Usually Stalin did not forgive such a thing and got rid of many "oppositionists".
Stalin personally defended Kirov from the attacks of other party members - and entrusted him to be a member of the Politburo of the central committee of the party, which in fact made him one of the main persons of the country.
With little authority among the rest of the party leadership, Kirov possessed charisma and oratory. He spoke to workers in factories, and they took him for their own. Kirov kept himself simply and smiled broadly.
In 1934, he was shot dead outside his office in Leningrad. The murderer was detained, but the motives for the murder remain a mystery to this day, and it is also unclear whether someone was behind this murderer or he single-handedly avenged his unsuccessful party career.
Stalin ordered to avenge his comrade-in-arms and find among the "oppositionists" adherents of his former party opponent Zinoviev.It is unclear whether there was a conspiracy, but the murder of Kirov was followed by a wave of repression and executions of people suspected of conspiracy. It is believed that this marked the beginning of the great terror.
4. Clement Voroshilov (1881-1969)
Voroshilov and Stalin in 1936 - Anatoly Garanin / Sputnik
This man is the record holder for being at the top of power: he was in the Politburo of the central committee of the party for more than 34 years. During the Civil War, he commanded an army, and then a whole group of troops on the southern front. He was also responsible for establishing order in revolutionary Petrograd and, together with Felix Dzerzhinsky, stood at the origins of the Cheka (an extraordinary commission for combating counter-revolution and sabotage), which would later become the NKVD and the KGB.
He was one of Stalin's most devoted comrades-in-arms and took his side during the internal party struggle after Lenin's death. Then he wrote the book "Stalin and the Red Army", in which he greatly extolled the role of Stalin in the Civil War. He was one of the first marshals of the Soviet Union, carried out military reforms, was the Minister of Defense. As a close friend of Stalin, he, like many of his other associates, signed execution lists and repressed army commanders.
After Stalin's death, for seven years, Voroshilov was the chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, officially this was the main position in the country (in fact, the country was led by the general secretary of the party). He lived to a ripe old age and until the end of his days was in the party and in the top leadership of the USSR. Voroshilov became one of the few associates of Stalin who was buried at the Kremlin wall.
5. Lavrenty Beria (1899-1953)
Beria with Stalin's daughter Svetlana - Sputnik
Beria became a Bolshevik in 1917 and, during the Civil War, entered the service in the Azerbaijan branch of the Cheka. Having become a professional security officer and a state security officer, he was responsible for these issues later in the Georgian SSR and throughout the Caucasian region. And then in the NKVD of the entire USSR and finally became a member of the party elite.
Beria was the closest to Stalin's inner circle in the last years of the leader's life. He constantly visited his house and dacha, there are many pictures of Beria with Stalin's family.
Beria was responsible for nuclear projects, as well as for the mass deportation of peoples who could cooperate with Hitler in the occupied territories. Beria oversaw the assassination of Trotsky and actively identified and repressed all "foreign agents" and spies in the country. It was rumored that Beria also lured young girls and actresses to him and, threatening to repress them or their relatives, persuaded them to contact - and even raped them.
After Stalin's death in 1953, Beria was convicted of unpunished reprisals against unwanted persons and many anti-Soviet conspiracies (many related to past years and were poorly proven). In the same year he was shot.