Lavrentiy Beria

Lavrentiy Beria (1899-1953), Soviet political leader and official in the secret police during the Stalin era. He was born in Merkheuli, Georgia, on March 29, 1899. Educated as an architectural engineer, he joined the Bolshevik (Communist) party in 1917. From 1921 to 1930 he was a member of the Soviet secret police in the Caucasus, rising to command of the police in the entire area. From 1931 to 1938, Beria was an official of the Communist party in the Georgian and Caucasian regions. He became a member of the central committee of the Communist party in 1934.

One of the most faithful of Joseph Stalin's followers, Beria glorified Stalin's early career in On the History of the Bolshevik Organization in Transcaucasia (1935). In 1938, Stalin appointed him head of the ministry of internal affairs, which had charge of the secret police. Beria replaced Nikolai Yezhov. This shift in police officials coincided with the end of the purges of Communist party officials during the 1930's. Because of Stalin's reliance on the secret police, Beria's influence constantly grew. In 1939 he became a member of the politburo of the Communist party and in 1941 a deputy premier of the Soviet Union.

After Russia entered World War II, Beria became a member of the war cabinet and was given charge of ammunition production as well as of the police. When the war ended, he remained in command of police and intelligence activities. When the politburo was reorganized as the presidium in 1952, Beria retained his membership. After the death of Stalin in March 1953 he was made first deputy premier, a member of the presidium of the Council of Ministers, and minister of internal affairs.

Immediately after Stalin's death Beria's power was thought to be exceeded only by that of Georgi Malenkov. In July 1953, however, there was an official announcement of Beria's expulsion from the Communist party and the Soviet government. A month later it was announced that Beria would be charged with treason. He was accused of trying to seize total power in Russia, of being a foreign spy, and of attempting to bring capitalism to Russia. Rumors that he had been able to escape from Russia proved false. Beria was brought to trial in December 1953. After a six-day trial he was executed on December 23, 1953, presumably in Moscow.

More by this Author

  • Arthur Pendragon (King Arthur)
    0

    In the 19th century the legends of Arthur and his knights again became fashionable. In 1858 William Morris published his poem 'Defence of Guinevere,' and the tales provided the Pre-Raphaelite painters with subjects....

  • Pierre Navarre
    0

    Pierre Navarre born in Detroit, Michigan, March 28, 1790, was an American fur trader and scout in the War of 1812 When Navarre was a child his family moved to the River Raisin country, and about the year 1807 he and...

  • Grimm Brothers
    2

    The Grimm brothers were German philologists and famous collectors of fairy tales. Jakob Grimm, born Hanau, Germany, Jan. 4, 1785; died Berlin, Germany, Sept. 20, 1863. Wilhelm Grimm, born Hanau, Feb. 24, 1786; died...


Comments

No comments yet.

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working