Leonid Luks's Report: "Posthumous Overthrow of a Tyrant" - De-Stalinization in the USSR after 1953
On March 23, 2021, within the framework of the seminar "West and East: Universalism of Culture", there was held a report by Professor Leonid Luks, academic supervisor of the Laboratory.
When Stalin's successors, a few days after the death of the dictator, began to gradually dismantle the system he had created, that process was not only the result of Machiavellian games within the collective leadership, as some observers sometimes believe. It was also a kind of reaction to public expectations that had already emerged during the war. The paradox of the de-Stalinization process was, however, that it was carried out by the same people who for many years were Stalin's loyal servants. But, as the Sovietologist Isaac Deutscher wrote: all those communists who did not want to participate in the Stalinist terror were liquidated by Stalin long ago. Therefore, the socially necessary task of de-Stalinization was carried out by the Stalinists themselves.
Of course, the 20th Congress of the CPSU played a special role. The fact that the highest authority of the CPSU - the party congress - overthrew from the pedestal a supposedly "God-like image" that embodied the essence of the Soviet system for a quarter of a century, was bound to shake the foundations of the system created in the 1930s, since the cult Stalin represented not only a bureaucratic measure ordered from above. It was introduced into the subconsciousness of millions of Soviet people: performers and victims, albeit to a different extent. Therefore, Khrushchev's report at a closed session of the XX Congress of the CPSU served as the beginning of a dynamic process that, in essence, could not be stopped.
The lecture highlighted the different stages of this process and the attempts of the ruling oligarchy to subordinate it to party control.
Video recording of the report. Watch on YouTube (in Russian).