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Nikita Khrushchev Of a peasant family he worked in the plants and mines of Ukraine joined the Communist party in 1918 and in 1929 was sent to Moscow for further study He became a member of the central committee of the Communist party of the Soviet Union CPSU in 1934 and first secretary of the powerful Moscow city and regional party organization in 1935Made first secretary of the Ukrainian Communist party in 1938 he carried out Stalins ruthless purge of its ranks As a full member of the politburo the ruling body of the central committee of the CPSU after 1939 Khrushchev was one of Stalins close associates In World War II he served on the military councils of several fronts He was recalled from Ukraine to his Moscow post in 1949 After the death of Stalin on Mar 5 1953 a collective leadership replaced the single ruler of the USSR from the ensuing struggle for power Khrushchev emerged victorious He replaced Malenkov as first secretary of the party in Sept 1953 and in 1955 Malenkov resigned as premier and was succeeded by Bulganin a change clearly leaving Khrushchev with the advantage In 1954 he initiated the virgin lands program to increase grain production and headed a delegation to China At the 20th All-Union Party Congress 1956 Khrushchev delivered a secret report on The Personality Cult and Its Consequences bitterly denouncing the rule policies and personality of Stalin The program of destalinization which had already begun was supported and continued by Khrushchev Legal procedures were restored the secret police became less of a threat concentration camps and many forced-labor camps were closed and some greater degree of meaningful public controversy was permitted The new atmosphere of relative freedom constituted a great change from the days of Stalin Destalinization had however repercussions in other Communist countries creating unrest that exploded in the Polish defiance of the USSR in 1956 and in the quickly quelled Hungarian
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