Staunton, July 11 – Most Russians today associate Nikita Khrushchev with the thaw, de-Stalinization, and the opening of more comfortable five-story apartment blocks; but they did to forget that he was removed from power by his colleagues because he ran the country in a hands on way, intervening in some of the smallest details of Soviet life without consulting colleagues.
Russian commentator Georgy Filin describes in detail just how Khrushchev was removed following the preparation of a special report by Dmitry Polyansky which showed how Khrushchev acted without regard to party policies (press.lv/post/ujmis-durak-hrushhyova-otstranili-ot-vlasti-za-to-chto-on-po-suti-dovyol-stranu-do-ruchki/).
Filin’s article provides interesting details on the October 1964 events, but they prompt another question that may be more important: Could Vladimir Putin be ousted as the result of the composition and circulation of a report documenting the ways in which he has acted on his own on a wide variety of issues and not on behalf of the leadership?
The conventional wisdom is that because there is no Politburo in Russia today, Putin does not face such a challenge. That is certainly true in the narrow sense. But Putin’s style of rule, increasingly personalistic and arbitrary, is certainly alarming to at least some of his colleagues. And thus it is perhaps possible that such a report about Putin could be compiled as well.
Were that to happen, it could split the elite in ways that might lead some to move to oust Putin in a way not terribly dissimilar to the ways Khrushchev was a half-century ago. At the very least, it might provoke discussions in the corridors of power of the possible impact of continued arbitrary power on the interests of the other members of the elite.
That in and of itself, Filin’s article suggests about the events at the end of 1964, could have profound consequences for Russia, its leadership and its current ruler.