Friday, February 25, 2011

On February 25

On this day in ...
... 1956 (55 years ago today), in an address that the BBC called "sensational," former Soviet leader Joseph Stalin was reviled "as a brutal despot" by his successor, Nikita Khrushchev (right). The latter told an assembly of the Communist Party of the "regime of 'suspicion, fear, and terror' built up under the former dictator," who'd ruled from 1924 till his death in 1953. (photo credit) Khrushchev said his goal was to bring to an end what he called "the 'Stalin cult' that has held Soviet citizens in its thrall for 30 years." Americans and Britons would learn of the "Secret Speech" the following month, but it would not be published in Russia until 1988. It's estimated that during Stalin's rule "20 million died in labor camps, forced collectivization, famine and executions."

(Prior February 25 posts are here, here, here, and here.)

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