Khrushchev - Study Guide Chapter 10 Summary & Analysis

William Taubman
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When Khrushchev's phone rings March 1, 1953, he is expecting a summons from Stalin, whose dacha he left at 4 AM after the usual partying. It is not until almost 11 PM that Stalin's guards enter his quarters against orders and find him on the floor, felled by a massive stroke. Malenkov and Beria (and perhaps Khrushchev) arrive first and Beria postpones summoning medical assistance. Stalin lingers three days in a coma. Khrushchev and Bulganin take the nighttime vigil. Beria, who will later brag to Molotov he saved them all by killing Stalin, does not hide his hatred when the patient is unconscious, but kisses his hand whenever Stalin comes to. Khrushchev chairs a March 5 meeting of the leadership, but Malenkov and Beria dominate it. Beria nominates Malenkov to head the government and Malenkov names Beria to head the police. With the spoils divided, they return for Stalin's death agony. At...

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This section contains 1,561 words
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