Of all Soviet leaders, Nikita Khrushchev
had perhaps the most colorful personality. Lacking formal education,
he was able to achieve a meteoric career rise from a village
shepherd to the leader of a world superpower,
emerging, by the mid-1950s, as the country’s undisputed leader and
Like thousands of other young Russian peasants he had left the
countryside hoping to find a better life in the city. On the eve of
the revolution, as many other workers, he enthusiastically accepted
the Bolsheviks’ simple black-and-white vision of society. Based on
class hatred, it divided the world into “us,” the workers, and
“them,” the bourgeoisie and landowners. By taking power from the
exploiters and crushing their resistance, the workers would somehow
manage to build a shining paradise on earth.
Khrushchev's communist fundamentalism to a great extent explains his
populism and the overoptimistic and utopian objectives he was so
keen about. He believed that socialism, when cleansed of Stalinist
distortions, would be able to prove its historic superiority over
capitalism. However, Khrushchev’s denunciation of Stalin and his
quest for “socialism with a human face” failed to create conditions
for genuine democracy in the party and the country.
Khrushchev committed many mistakes and misjudgments during his
period in power. His competence as the leader of a world superpower
was often in question. His political style was dubbed by his
opponents “voluntarism,” that is, policy making in a willful,
foolish, and erratic manner. Khrushchev was notorious for advocating
harebrained schemes and chasing impractical ideas, such as his
insistence on massive expansion of the sown areas of maize,
including territories beyond the Arctic Circle. (A popular joke
commented on this obsession of his thus: “We shouldn’t let
Khrushchev go to the moon — he would plant maize there.”)
In October 1964 the party-state
rebelled against the troublesome leader. Practically the whole of
the Politburo of the Central Committee conspired against him.
Confronted by the hostile majority, Khrushchev was forced to resign.
He was permitted to remain in Moscow, where he lived as a private
citizen until his death in 1971.
Jokes about Khrushchev are often related to his
attempts to reform the economy, especially to
other harebrained schemes.
He was even called kukuruznik (maizeman). Other jokes address
crop failures due to mismanagement of the
agriculture, his innovations in urban architecture,
his confrontation with the US while importing US
consumer goods, his promises to build
communism within 20 years, or just his baldness,
rude manners, and womanizing ambitions. Unlike other
Soviet leaders, in jokes he is always harmless.
Why was Khrushchev deseated?
Because of the
Seven "C"s: Cult of personality, Communism,
China, Cuban Crisis, Corn, and Cuzka's mother.
(In Russian this is the seven "K"s. To "show
somebody Kuzka's mother" is a Russian idiom
meaning "to give somebody a hard time".
Khrushchev had used this phrase during a speech
United Nations General Assembly referring to
Tsar Bomba test over
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