Anti-Party Group
The Anti-Party Group was a group within the leadership of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union
Communist Party of the Soviet Union
The Communist Party of the Soviet Union was the only legal, ruling political party in the Soviet Union and one of the largest communist organizations in the world...

 that unsuccessfully attempted to depose Nikita Khrushchev
Nikita Khrushchev
Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev led the Soviet Union during part of the Cold War. He served as First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1953 to 1964, and as Chairman of the Council of Ministers, or Premier, from 1958 to 1964...

 as First Secretary of the Party in May 1957. The group, named by that epithet by Khrushchev, was led by former Premiers Georgy Malenkov
Georgy Malenkov
Georgy Maximilianovich Malenkov was a Soviet politician, Communist Party leader and close collaborator of Joseph Stalin. After Stalin's death, he became Premier of the Soviet Union and was in 1953 briefly considered the most powerful Soviet politician before being overshadowed by Nikita...

 and Vyacheslav Molotov
Vyacheslav Molotov
Vyacheslav Mikhailovich Molotov was a Soviet politician and diplomat, an Old Bolshevik and a leading figure in the Soviet government from the 1920s, when he rose to power as a protégé of Joseph Stalin, to 1957, when he was dismissed from the Presidium of the Central Committee by Nikita Khrushchev...

. The group rejected both Khrushchev's liberalisation of Soviet society and his uneven denunciation of Joseph Stalin
Joseph Stalin
Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin was the Premier of the Soviet Union from 6 May 1941 to 5 March 1953. He was among the Bolshevik revolutionaries who brought about the October Revolution and had held the position of first General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union's Central Committee...



The members of the group regarded Khruschev's attacks on Stalin, most famously in the Secret Speech
On the Personality Cult and its Consequences
On the Personality Cult and its Consequences was a report, critical of Joseph Stalin, made to the Twentieth Party Congress on February 25, 1956 by Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev. It is more commonly known as the Secret Speech or the Khrushchev Report...

 delivered at the 20th Congress of the CPSU
20th Congress of the CPSU
The 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union was held during 14– 25 February 1956. It is known especially for Nikita Khrushchev's "Secret Speech", which denounced the personality cult and dictatorship of Joseph Stalin....

 in 1956 as hypocritical as well as ideologically wrong, given Khrushchev's complete complicity in the Great Purge
Great Purge
The Great Purge was a series of campaigns of political repression and persecution in the Soviet Union orchestrated by Joseph Stalin from 1936 to 1938...

, and similar events as one of Stalin's favourites. They believed that Khrushchev's policy of peaceful coexistence
Peaceful coexistence
Peaceful coexistence was a theory developed and applied by the Soviet Union at various points during the Cold War in the context of its ostensibly Marxist–Leninist foreign policy and was adopted by Soviet-influenced "Communist states" that they could peacefully coexist with the capitalist bloc...

 would leave the Soviet Union open to attack. Additionally, Malenkov and Molotov had been removed from their positions as Premier and Foreign Minister the year before. Others feared for their careers and possibly their lives in the continuing de-Stalinisation of Soviet life.

Attempted take-over

The leaders of the group - Malenkov, Molotov and Lazar Kaganovich
Lazar Kaganovich
Lazar Moiseyevich Kaganovich was a Soviet politician and administrator and one of the main associates of Joseph Stalin.-Early life:Kaganovich was born in 1893 to Jewish parents in the village of Kabany, Radomyshl uyezd, Kiev Governorate, Russian Empire...

 - were joined at the last minute by Foreign Minister Dmitri Shepilov
Dmitri Shepilov
Dmitri Trofimovich Shepilov was a Soviet politician and Minister of Foreign Affairs who joined the abortive plot to oust Nikita Khrushchev from power in 1957.-Childhood:Dmitri Shepilov was born to a worker's family in Askhabad...

, whom Kaganovich had convinced that the group had a majority. In fact, in the Presidium
Politburo of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union
The Politburo , known as the Presidium from 1952 to 1966, functioned as the central policymaking and governing body of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.-Duties and responsibilities:The...

 the group's proposal to replace Khrushchev as First Secretary with Premier
Premier of the Soviet Union
The office of Premier of the Soviet Union was synonymous with head of government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics . Twelve individuals have been premier...

 Nikolai Bulganin
Nikolai Bulganin
Nikolai Alexandrovich Bulganin was a prominent Soviet politician, who served as Minister of Defense and Premier of the Soviet Union . The Bulganin beard is named after him.-Early career:...

 won with 7 to 4 votes, but Khrushchev argued that only the plenum of the Central Committee
Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union
The Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union , abbreviated in Russian as ЦК, "Tse-ka", earlier was also called as the Central Committee of the All-Union Communist Party ...

 could remove him from office. At an extraordinary session of the Central Committee held in late June, Khrushchev argued that his opponents were an "anti-party group". He was backed by Defense Minister Georgy Zhukov
Georgy Zhukov
Marshal of the Soviet Union Georgy Konstantinovich Zhukov , was a Russian career officer in the Red Army who, in the course of World War II, played a pivotal role in leading the Red Army through much of Eastern Europe to liberate the Soviet Union and other nations from the Axis Powers' occupation...

, who gave a forceful speech, and was reaffirmed in his position as First Secretary even using the military to bring in supporters of Khrushchev to convince people to support him.


During the stormy meeting of the Central Committee, Zhukov had come close to threatening Khrushchev's opponents with force (even as he denounced them for having the blood of Stalin's victims on their hands) but the triumphant Khrushchev resisted.

Malenkov, Molotov, Kaganovich and Shepilov - the only four names made public - were vilified in the press and deposed from their positions in party and government. They were given relatively unimportant positions:
  • Molotov was sent as ambassador to Mongolia
    Mongolia is a landlocked country in East and Central Asia. It is bordered by Russia to the north and China to the south, east and west. Although Mongolia does not share a border with Kazakhstan, its western-most point is only from Kazakhstan's eastern tip. Ulan Bator, the capital and largest...

  • Malenkov became director of a hydroelectric plant in Kazakhstan
    Kazakhstan , officially the Republic of Kazakhstan, is a transcontinental country in Central Asia and Eastern Europe. Ranked as the ninth largest country in the world, it is also the world's largest landlocked country; its territory of is greater than Western Europe...

  • Kaganovich became director of a small potassium factory in the Urals
  • Shepilov became head of the Economics Institute of the local Academy of Sciences
    Academy of Sciences
    An Academy of Sciences is a national academy or another learned society dedicated to sciences.In non-English speaking countries, the range of academic fields of the members of a national Academy of Science often includes fields which would not normally be classed as "science" in English...

     of Kyrgyzstan
    Kyrgyzstan , officially the Kyrgyz Republic is one of the world's six independent Turkic states . Located in Central Asia, landlocked and mountainous, Kyrgyzstan is bordered by Kazakhstan to the north, Uzbekistan to the west, Tajikistan to the southwest and China to the east...

In 1961, in the wake of further de-Stalinisation, they were expelled from the Communist Party altogether and all lived mostly quiet lives from then on. Shepilov was allowed to rejoin the party by Khrushchev's successor Leonid Brezhnev
Leonid Brezhnev
Leonid Ilyich Brezhnev  – 10 November 1982) was the General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union , presiding over the country from 1964 until his death in 1982. His eighteen-year term as General Secretary was second only to that of Joseph Stalin in...

 in 1976 but remained on the sidelines.

Khrushchev became increasingly distrusting and in the same year also deposed and expelled Defense Minister Zhukov, who had assisted him against the anti-party group but with whom he increasingly had political differences, alleging an attempted coup. In 1958, Premier Bulganin, the intended beneficiary of the anti-party group's move, was forced to retire and Khrushchev became Premier as well.

Khrushchev's treatment of his opponents marked a departure from earlier practice in Soviet politics (as last seen in 1953 during the purge of Lavrenti Beria) - a development that was followed during later power struggles, such as Khrushchev's own deposition by Brezhnev in 1964 and the failed coup against Mikhail Gorbachev
Mikhail Gorbachev
Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev is a former Soviet statesman, having served as General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1985 until 1991, and as the last head of state of the USSR, having served from 1988 until its dissolution in 1991...

in August 1991 .

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