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Stalin's Death. Struggle for Authority.

March 5, 1953 I.V.Stalin died. Unusual joint session of the three bodies - the TSK of the party, the Council of Ministers and the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR was held next day. The session ratified new distribution of authorities between chief leaders of the country. The post of the Chairman of the Council of Ministers was decided to grant to G.M.Malenkov. His first assistants were appointed L.P.Beriya, heading the uniform Ministry of Internal Affairs of the USSR, N.A.Bulganin, heading the uniform Ministry of Defence, and also V.M.Molotov and L.M.Kaganovich. K.E.Voroshilov 'was elected' to the post of the Chairman of Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, and N.M.Shvernik occupying this post was displaced to the post of the chairman of the All-Union Central Soviet of Trade Unions. N.S.Hrushchev was entrusted " to concentrate on government of the Secretary TSK of the CPSS ".

Simultaneously at the joint session the decision on reduction in more than a half as much of the number of the Presidium of the TSK of the party was authorized, it made 10 members of the Presidium and 4 candidates to members. Soon after Stalin's death processes of liberalization in internal and foreign policy of the USSR were planned. First of all liberalization concerned the activity of repressive bodies. As early as the 4th of April the message of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the USSR about falsity of accusations against the group of doctors and about rehabilitation of all the involved in the case was published. Thus " the case of the doctors - poisoners " started at the end of 1952, which marked the apogee of Stalin's lawlessness, was closed. Official conviction of the state security organs engaged in the " mingrelian case" followed soon.

These actions of the new government on rehabilitation of victims of Stalin terror objectively weakened influence of retaliatory bodies on formation of the new policy, and also paved the way for omnipotent L.P.Beriya's removal from the authority. On the basis of the preliminary secret arrangement between the members of the Presidium of the TSK of the CPSS and with active support of the supreme army generals and personally the hero of the Great Patriotic war marshal G.K.Zhukov at session of the Presidium of the TSK Beriya was arrested. After this on July by the Plenum of the TSK he was excluded from the party and removed from all posts as " the enemy of the Communist Party and Soviet people ".

After the arrest of Beriya the purge of the governing body of the MIA-MGB was carried out, investigation was brought. As a result of the investigation of evil deeds of Beriya and his confidants December 23, 1953 the Special Judicial Presence of the Supreme court of the USSR sentenced him, and also V.N.Merkulov, V.G.Dekanozov, B.Z.Kobulov, S.A.Goglidze, P.Y.Meshik and L.E. Vlodzimersky to execution.

Beriya's dismissal contributed to the growth of the role of the party machinery in the government of the country and strengthening of positions of N.S.Hrushchev, who was elected the First secretary of the TSK of the CPSS on the next Plenum of the TSK September 13, 1953. The bodies of state security removed from the structure of the Ministry of Internal Affairs also went under the strict control of the party. The chairman of the KGB formed in March 1954 became Hrushev's supporter I.A. Serov.

Within 1954 the influence of Hrushchev in the new structure of the country government became prevailing. He drastically changed the whole style and the contents of work both of the supreme party bodies, and the subordinate organizations. Sessions of the Presidium TSK and plenums became regular and were dedicated mainly to completely new problems (for example, to development of virgin soil, appeal of youth for construction of the national economy etc.). Under Hrushchev's instruction the direction on consistent rehabilitation of victims of Stalin's regime was taken.

By the end of 1954 in the Presidium of the TSK the struggle between a grouping of former close associates of Stalin - V.M.Molotov, G.M.Malenkov and L.M.Kaganovich, on the one hand, and N.S.Hrushev and the majority of members of the renewed TSK of the party supporting him, the new leadership of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, KGB and army - on the other aggravated. As a result of complex secret combinations in January, 1955 G.M.Malenkov was dismissed from duties of the Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the country and appointed the minister of power stations. N.A.Bulganin became the chairman of the Sovmin, and G.K.Zhukov was appointed the Minister of Defence instead of Bulganin. This event was a major landmark in N.S.Hrushev's struggle against adherents of the Stalin's regime. The following turning point in state and social development of the USSR, formation of the new policy of the country became the XX congress of the CPSS.

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