The Posthumous Attack on Khrushchev

This one comes from the Associated Press – and it doesn’t seem clear whether this posthumous smear attack against Nikita Khrushchev is motivated by the nationalist’s nostalgic reinvention of Stalin, or the outspoken nature of the Khrushchev family.

The 68-year-old granddaughter of Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev has filed a series of lawsuits against a state-owned TV network for airing a docudrama that, she says, falsely depicts her father, Leonid, as having been shot as a traitor in World War II. These allegations of her father’s treachery, which historians dismiss, have been published more than a dozen times in books, magazine articles and newspapers in the post-Soviet era, and sometimes she cannot bring herself to read them. “I am not that brave,” she says. Some members of the Khrushchev family and others say the persistent rumor is part of a quiet battle of political symbols, in which the champions of a strengthened state have tried to weaken democratic institutions. The aim, they say, is to burnish the reputation of strong leaders, such as former President Vladimir Putin and Stalin, by tarnishing that of Khrushchev — who denounced Stalin’s mass arrests, executions and deportations in a secret 1956 speech to the Communist Party leadership that later became public.