Sunday, December 31, 2023

Khrushchev Likely Staged December 1953 Execution of Beria Using a Double, Stalinist Apologist Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Dec.31 – All the talk about Putin’s doubles has opened the way for Aleksandr Samsonov to promote the idea that Khrushchev had Lavrenty Beria killed at the time of his arrest or shortly thereafter in June 1953 and then employed a double of the former Stalinist police chief for a fake trial and execution in December of that year.

            The idea that Khrushchev and his allies were so afraid of Beria that they had him executed at the time of his arrest has circulated for a long time, but the suggestion by this Stalinist apologist is new in its talk about the use of a double to fake Beria’s trial and execution adds a new twist to the story (

            At the end of a 2200-word article praising Beria to the skies, Samsonov says that the version of events which holds that Beria was executed on Khrushchev’s orders in June is “the more logical” and that the December “trial and execution were simply staged” to give a veneer of legality to what was a part of an internecine power struggle among Stalin’s heirs. 

            The existence of 19 volumes of testimony that investigators reportedly took from Beria after his arrest casts doubt on Samsonov’s argument, but his words are just one more example of the ways in which each new generation of Russians since 1953 has struggled to come to terms with what Beria’s execution meant (e.g., and


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