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The Rise and Fall of Communism in Russia$
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Robert V. Daniels

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780300106497

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300106497.001.0001

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Khrushchev and the Intelligentsia

Khrushchev and the Intelligentsia

(p.284) Chapter 25 Khrushchev and the Intelligentsia
The Rise and Fall of Communism in Russia

Robert Daniels

Yale University Press

Until the 1980s, postrevolutionary despotism ruled political life in the Soviet Union. Nevertheless, contrary elements of the Russian tradition received a major impetus from the Russian intelligentsia. In both prerevolutionary and postrevolutionary Russia, the intelligentsia played a critical role in reform. It was the principal constituency for reform under Nikita Khrushchev, Leonid Brezhnev, and Mikhail Gorbachev. In particular, the creative intelligentsia always enjoyed special influence in Russia, and their power was clearly recognized by the Communist authorities. A natural adversary of the critical intelligentsia was the bureaucracy of the Communist Party and state nomenklatura. Joseph Stalin's death resulted in “a great burst of renewal” in intellectual life. Khrushchev outmaneuvered Georgi Malenkov to succeed Stalin and proceeded with the groundwork for the Twentieth Congress in February 1956. The intelligentsia was not a prominent issue at the Twentieth Congress, but the de-Stalinization campaign had a stirring impact on intellectual life. Relatively speaking, the years 1959 to 1962 were a golden age for Soviet intellectuals.

Keywords:   intelligentsia, Soviet Union, reform, Nikita Khrushchev, bureaucracy, Communist Party, Joseph Stalin, intellectual life, Twentieth Congress, de-Stalinization

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