Lavrenty Pavlovich Beria, 1899–1953

Born in Mercheuli, Georgia, Beria was head of the Soviet security service in Georgia from 1921 to 1931 and then first secretary of the Georgian Communist Party until 1938. After that, he became head of the NKVD, the Soviet political police, and one of the people primarily responsible for the Stalinist show trials. From 1938 to 1953, he was an interior and state-security people’s commissioner and then minister. He was promoted to the rank of marshal of the Soviet Union in 1945 and was a deputy prime minister between 1946 and 1953. After Stalin’s death, the new leadership under Khrushchev feared that Beria would try to seize power and inform on them about their deeds during the Stalin terror. In December 1953, he was arrested on trumped-up charges and executed.

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This page was created: Wednesday, 23-Aug-2000
Last updated: Wednes, 12-Sept-2001
Copyright © 2000 The Institute for the History of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution

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