What was known about Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev during his career was strictly limited by the secretive Soviet government. Little more information was available after he was ousted and became a “non-person” in the ussr in 1964. This pathbreaking book draws for the first time on a wealth of newly released materials—documents from secret former Soviet archives, memoirs of long-silent witnesses, the full memoirs of the premier himself—to assemble the best-informed analysis of the Khrushchev years ever completed. The contributors to this volume include Russian, Ukrainian, American, and British scholars; a former key foreign policy aide to Khrushchev; the executive secretary of a Russian commission investigating Soviet-era repressions and rehabilitations; and Khrushchev’s own son Sergei.
The book presents and interprets new information on Khrushchev’s struggle for power, public attitudes toward him, his role in agricultural reform and cultural politics, and such foreign policy issues as East-West relations, nuclear strategy, and relations with Germany. It also chronicles Khrushchev’s years in Ukraine where he grew up and began his political career, serving as Communist party boss from 1938 to 1949, and his role in mass repressions of the 1930s and in destalinization in the 1950s and 1960s. Two concluding chapters compare the regimes of Khrushchev and Gorbachev as they struggled to reform Communism, to humanize and modernize the Soviet system, and to answer the haunting question that persists today: Is Russia itself reformable?