On the Coups and Counter-Coup in Georgia

Poplar UK
5 December 1998

Bill Bland This was contained in a letter to Hari Kumar where Bland took strong exception to conjectures that Beria was not a Marxist-Leninist.

In this letter, he rightly upbraids Kumar, of: “expressing doubt” and “in effect, wringing your hands and saying: “Dearie me, it’s all too complicated. Maybe he was, maybe he wasn't!”

Bland on the basis of the chronology and events of the Mingrelian Case, argued forcefully that Beria was a Marxist-Leninist.

The full letter will be published in the forthcoming volumes of Bland.

Editor, Alliance Marxist-Leninist
November 2006.



In the first part of your report, you praise Beria as People's Commissar of Internal Affairs in the late 30s, saying:

"Stalin was trying hard to limit the damage being done by a revisionist (i.e., Yezhov -- WBB). In this situation, Lavrenty Beria was put in this sensitive and critical job. Stalin himself put Beria into this job.

Beria 'cleansed' the NKVD (the People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs -- Ed.). He placed trusted Bolsheviks in the key positions. As he had personal knowledge from Georgia of who was reliable or not, many of the appointees were from Georgia.

It is accepted by even hostile and anti-Marxist writers that, following Beria's changes, thousands of prisoners in the camps were released.

Marxist-Leninists are aware that Beria effectively cleared the NKVD of revisionist practices and revisionist personnel".
(Alliance No. 30 (October 1998); p. 85. 86. 87).

Later in the report you praise Beria's 'utter reliability' in connection with his work in the development of the Soviet atom bomb, saying:

"It was essential to have in charge of the Russian atomic bomb project someone who was an utterly reliable Bolshevik. Stalin ensured that Lavrenty Beria was given this mandate"
(Alliance, No. 30 (October 1998); p. 87).

You report correctly that, as a result of change in April 1943,

"...the NKVD -- still under Beria...was now no longer responsible for state security but only for economic security". (Alliance, No. 30 (October 1998); p. 87).

But instead of presenting this as a revisionist move to weaken the state security services, you justify this on the grounds that

" is likely that the work load was already too great to enable one agency to cover the work".
(Alliance, No. 30 (October 1998); p. 87).

But the Departments concerned were reunited into a single Ministry in March 1953:

"On15 March (1953 -- WBB) the Supreme Soviet resolved to amalgamate the Ministry of State Security with the Ministry of Internal Affairs".
(Boris Levytsky: The Uses of Terror: The Soviet Secret Service: 1917-1970; London; 1971; p.214).

So your non-political excuse for the removal of Beria’s authority from state security is clearly invalid...

The Coups and Counter-Coup in Georgia

In the past you have agreed with us that if a thesis is correct, it must be sensible and coherent.

You have also agreed that the class struggle in the Soviet Union in the early 1950s, took the principal form of an intra-Party struggle between a Marxist-Leninist grouping headed by Stalin (representing the interests of the working class) and a revisionist grouping headed by Khrushchev (representing the interests of world imperialism).

As Robert Conquest notes,

"...changes in the Georgian leadership were especially crucial to the main struggle in the USSR".
(Robert Conquest: Power and Policy in the USSR: The Study of Soviet Dynastics, London; 1961; p. 129).

If, therefore, we examine the series of coups and counter-coup which occurred in Georgia in 1951-53 with these points in mind, the Marxist-Leninist role of Beria becomes irrefutable.

The Revisionist Coup in Georgia: November 1951

In November 1951, revisionist conspirators staged a coup in Georgia.

On the 15th of this month, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Georgia announced that:

"Recently it has become known that the Second Secretary of the CP(b) of Georgia, M. I. Baramiya, Minister of Justice A. N. Rapava, and the Prosecutor of the Republic B. Y. Shoniya, have been extending protection to certain officials who have committed crimes".
("CC. CPG: Announcement of November 1951," in: Robert Conquest's Power and Policy in the USSR: The Study of Soviet Dynastics, London; 1961; p. 139).

The allegations related to:

"embezzlement in a major Tbilisi construction trust".
(Amy Knight: Beria: Stalin's First Lieutenant, Princeton (USA); 1993; p. 160).

All those named:

"...were dismissed from their posts, to be arrested later".
(Robert Conquest: op. cit.; p. 139).

On 1-2 April 1952,

"... a Georgian CC plenum removed (Kandida -- WBB) Charkviani from his post (as First Secretary -- WBB)".
(Amy Knight: op. cit.; p. 162).

Charkviani, who had been:                                                                                                

"head of the republic since 1938", (Amy Knight: ibid.; p. 161),  “was replaced by (Avksenty -- WBB) Mgeladze". (Robert Conquest: op. cit.; p. 141).

A session of the Georgian Supreme Soviet held on 5-6 April 1952:                                                                                                                                                                                

"...revealed that Charkviani had simply 'left the republic', but Baramiya was under criminal prosecution"             
(Amy Knight: op. cit.; p. 162).

By the end of April 1952,

"...only two officials from the 'old leadership' remained".
(Amy Knight: ibid.; p. 163).


"...the appointees to the new provincial posts were hostile to Beria".
(Robert Conquest: op. cit.; p. 138).

In later revisionist mythology, the coup in Georgia became known as"

"... the Mingrelian case"
(Boris I. Nicolaevsky: Note to: Nikita S. Khrushchev: Special Report to the 20th Congress of the CPSU, New York; 1956; p. 546).

and falsely attributed to Stalin:

" the case of the Mingrelian nationalist organisation which supposedly existed in Georgia. .; Resolutions by the Central Committee, Communist Party of the Soviet Union, were made concerning this case in November 1951 and in March 1952...Stalin had personally dictated them".
(Nikita S. Krushchev: ibid.; p. 546-47).

On this, Robert Conquest notes:

"Mingrelia is the wedge of Georgia between Abkhazia and the River Rion...But it seems plain that the 'Mingrelian conspiracy' refers not to this rather small area, but to a group of Mingrelians powerful in Georgia as a whole...All those of whom it has been publicly stated that they were victimised at this time, were all Mingrelians, as was Beria himself".
(Robert Conquest: op. cit.; p. 140).

and even Boris Nicolaevsky feels compelled to point out:

"Though he (Khrushchev) implies that the'Mingrelian case'...was staged by Beria and Abakumov, this is a deliberate distortion. It was precisely in November 1951 that Semen --WBB) D. Ignatiev, one of Beria's bitterest enemies, was appointed (USSR -- WBB) Minister of State Security; the Mingrelian case was, therefore, trumped up as a blow at Beria".
(Boris I. Nicolaevsky: Note to: Nikita S. Khrushchev: op. cit.; p. 546­7).

I notice that you yourself, describe Ignatiev as a revisionist...(Alliance, No.30 (October 1998); p.104.


"...Their revisionist conspirators’ – WBB) most important ally”:
(Alliance, No.30 (October 1998); p.124.

The Marxist-Leninist Counter-Offensive in Georgia: April 1953

On 5 March 1953,

"...Stain died".
(Boris Levytsky: op. cit.; p. 212),

Two days later, on 7 March 1953,

"Beria was appointed (USSR) Minister of Internal Affairs".
(Boris Levytsky: ibid.; p. 214)

...and eight days after that, on 15 March 1953,

"the Supreme Soviet resolved to amalgamate the (USSR) Ministry of State Security with the (USSR) Ministry of Internal Affairs".
(Boris Levytsky: ibid.; p. 214),

...thus making Beria again

"...responsible for state security".
(Alliance, No. 30 (October 1998); p. 87).

On 15 April 1953, it was announced:

"...that the Georgian Minister of State Security (M. Nikolai Rukhadze) and Mgeladze had been dismissed from their posts, arrested, and would be 'severely punished' for fabricating 'trumped-up' charges against former leading members of the Georgian Government, all of whom had proved to be completely innocent".
(Keesing's Contemporary Archives, Volume 9; p. 13, 029).

It was stated that Baramiya and Rapava:

"...had been the victims of a case fabricated by Rukhadze".
(Robert Conquest: op. cit.; p. 140).

It was also announced

"...that three former Ministers who had been dismissed at Rukhadze's instigation would be immediately restored to their former posts".
(Keesing's Contemporary Archives, Volume 9; p. 13, 029).

Reporting these events, Tiflis radio:

"...eulogised M. Beria as 'the best son of Georgia"'.                                                                                         
('Keesing's Contemporary Archives', Volume 9; p. 13, 029).

In short,

"...turning first to Georgia, he (Beria -- Ed,.) swiftly reversed many of the changes that the purges of 1951-52 had wrought. At his instigation, the CPSU Central Committee passed a resolution, on 10 April, declaring the Mingrelian nationalist conspiracy a fabrication and ordering a rehabilitation of all those accused. The CC Bureau was drastically purged of the 11 full members elected in September 1952, all were dismissed except two officials and they were demoted to candidate status, The new bureau was packed with Beria men, including (Vladimir) Dekanozov and (Stepan -- WBB) Mamulov"                                                                                                                                
(Amy Knight: op. cit.; p. 187).

Next day, on 11 April, the Georgian Prime Minister was replaced

" Beria's close friend (Valerian - WBB) Bakradze. Baramiya became Minister of Agriculture, Rapava was released from prison to become Minister of State Control...and Dekanozov assumed the highly important post of Minister of Internal Affairs. On the Party side, Mamulov was placed at the head of the cadres department, which made him responsible for Party appointments".
(Amy Knight: ibid.; p. 187).

On 15 April 1953, Bakradze, the newly appointed Prime Minister of Georgia, told the Georgian Supreme Soviet that against Baramiya and Rapava

"...the enemy of the people and Party, former Minister of State Security, M. (Nikolai -- WBB) Rukhadze had cooked up an entirely false and provocative affair concerning a non-existent nationalism. Rukhadze and his accomplices have been arrested and will be severely punished".
(Robert Conquest: op, cit.; p. 145).

The New Revisionist Coup: July 1953

On 10 July 1953, revisionist conspirators staged a decisive coup at the centre.

On this date,

" was officially announced in Moscow that M. Lavrenty Beria, First Vice-Chairman and Minister of Internal Affairs in the Soviet Council of Ministers, had been expelled from the Communist Party and removed from his Ministerial posts as an 'enemy of the people', and that 'the case concerning the criminal actions of Beria' had been referred to the Supreme Court of the USSR".
(Keesing's Contemporary Archives, Volume 9; p. 13, 029).

The coup against Beria was followed by another change of leadership in Georgia:

"First the police, or former police, adherents of Beria were removed at high speed, while Beria's own political appointees were removed -- not merely from their posts, but from the Central Committee as well".
(Robert Conquest: op. cit.; p. 146).

On 15 July 1953, Tiflis Radio announced that:

"M. Dekanozov had been dismissed from the Georgian Government and the Communist Party for collaboration with 'the traitor Beria'. The broadcast said that Mgeladze, Charkviani and other former Party leaders on the Georgian Central Committee had taken advantage of Beria's leadership to violate Party instructions".
(Keesing's Contemporary Archives, Volume 9; p. 13, 029).

On 22 September 1953, Tiflis Radio announced:

"...that M. Valerian Bakradze had been relieved of his post as Premier of Georgia",
(Keesing's Contemporary Archives, Volume 9; p. 13, 468).

and that the First Secretary of the Georgian Communist Party

"...had been succeeded by M. Mzavaladze".
(Keesing's Contemporary Archives, Volume 9; p. 13, 468).

On 25 September 1953, three days after the dismissal of Bakradze,

" was announced that three more Georgian Ministers had been dismissed -- M. Baramiya (Minister of Agriculture and Procurement), M. Chaureli (Minister of Culture), and M. Tsulukidze (Minister of Education)...No reason was given for these dismissals".
(Keesing's Contemporary Archives, Volume 9; p. 13, 468).

On 21 February 1954, a broadcast from Tiflis Radio stated:

"...that 3, 011 persons had been expelled from the Georgian Communist Party during the past 17 months, these figures having been given by M. Mzavaladze (the new First Secretary of the Party)".
(Keesing's Contemporary Archives, Volume 9; p. 13,468).

The chronology  of the coups and counter-coups in Georgia makes it clear, in my view, that Beria was a Marxist-Leninist.

W.B. Bland
December, 1998

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