Beria, Lavrenti Pavlovich.

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Lavrenti Pavlovich Beria born 29-03-1899, in  Merkheuli, near Sukhumi, in the Sukhum Okrug of the Kutais Governorate (now Gulripshi District, de facto Republic of Abkhazia, or Georgia, then part of the Russian Empire). He grew up in a Georgian Orthodox family; his mother, Marta Jaqeli (1868–1955), was deeply religious and church-going (she spent much time in church and died in a church building). Marta was from the Guria region, descended from a noble Georgian family, and was a widow before marrying Beria’s father, Pavle Beria (1872–1922), a landowner in Abkhazia, from the Mingrelian ethnic subgroup Lavrenti received a strict religious upbringing in the Georgian Orthodox tradition. Beria’s mother, Marta Jaqeli (1868–1955), was deeply religious and church-going (she spent much time in church and died in a church building). She was previously married and widowed before marrying Beria’s father, Pavel Khukhaevich Beria (1872–1922), a landowner from Abkhazia. He also had a brother (name unknown), and a deaf sister named Anna. From 1915-1919 he followed a technical education. In the year of the Russian Revolution, 1917, Beria joined the Bolshevik branch of the Russian Social Democratic Workers Party, a party that continued one year later under the shorter name Russian Communist Party. In 1921, Beria joined the Cheka in Georgia, the secret police of the communists. The Cheka  stood for “Extraordinary commission to combat counter-revolution, speculation and sabotage” and was the precursor of the later secret service NKVD. Georgian politician Lavrenti Beria entered the history books as the notorious head of the Russian secret service NKVD, during the Cold War era. He was called “our Heinrich Himmler by Jozef Stalin. Who was Beria? And why did he have the reputation of being a Russian Himmler? From 1923 to 1931, Beria was president of the Cheka. As a supporter of Stalinism, Lavrenti Beria joined the Communist Party’s Central Committee in 1934 and thus ended up in the highest political circles of the Soviet Union. The NKVD secret service, led by Nikolai Yezov

, commissioned Stalin, the Great Terror of 1937-1938. The violence cost the lives of millions of Russians. Like many others, Yezjov became too powerful in Stalin’s eyes and therefore purged away. On 04-02-1940, Yezhov, age 44, was shot by the future KGB chairman Ivan Serov (or by Blokhin). Yezhov’s body was immediately cremated and his ashes dumped in a common grave at Moscow’s Donskoi Cemetery. The execution remained secret and as late as 1948, Time reported: “Some think he is still in an insane asylum”  Ivan Seroy survived all and died 01-07-1990, aged 84, in Moscow

In August 1938, Beria came to the NKVD as his representative. Subsequently, all of Yazov’s supporters were cleared from the party and Yeshov himself was humiliated by relegations. He was eventually executed. Beria took his place as the new leader of the secret service. Biography Amy Knight, in Beria, Stalin’s First Lieutenant, describes Lavrentie Beria as a hugely ambitious, ruthless, sadistic and arrogant director. Beria was very thick and puffy. Despite his ugly appearance, the many intrigues he set up and his cynicism, Beria was, however, an intelligent person who could manage well and did not allow ideology to prevail over political and social practice.

During Lavrenti Beria’s leadership of the KNVD, from 1938 until his death in 1953, the NKVD gained much political power. Also the Communist punishment camps, the Gulag, were expanded enormously and Beria set up numerous sham trials to get rid of “suspicious” party members, often commissioned by Stalin. In this period countless murders, deportations and other misery took place.

Little is known that from 1939 to 1951, Beria, together with the scientist Grigory Mairanovsky, led a secret poison laboratory in the heart of Moscow. All kinds of poisons – such as mustard gas, ricin, digitoxin and aconitin – were tested on political prisoners ….When Operation Barbarossa for the Soviet Union broke out in World War 1941 – called the “Great Patriotic War” by the Russians – Lavrenti Beria got even busier than he already had it. He was given extensive powers by the paranoid Stalin to oversee alleged desertions in the Red Army and to execute “unreliable” generals. As early as 1939, during the Finnish-Russian Winter War, Beria had devised the following motto, which would lead to thousands of executions within the army:

The NKVD immediately intervened with the Russian Red Army. Soldiers who withdrew were shot by the NKVD. Joseph Stalin allowed Beria to interfere with the highest military authorities in the Russian Army. In the years 1942-1945, Beria further set up deportations of all kinds of population groups in Poland and the Baltic states, but he also had Chechens and Tartars taken away. Tens of thousands of victims were killed.In 1945, Beria was named one of the ten marshals of the Soviet Union. In 1946 he joined the Russian Politburo. After the Second World War, Lavrentie Beria was in charge of the Russian nuclear program. At the Yalta Conference (1945), Joseph Stalin called his follower Lavrenti Beria “our Heinrich Himmler” to Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Beria’s biographer Amy Knight tells in her biography Beria, Stalin’s First Lieutenant (1994), the same Beria with Hermann Göring. It may be clear that Beria was a violent person who is responsible for thousands of murders.In the end, Lavrenti Beria himself became the victim of the increasing paranoia of his boss Jozef Stalin. Beria was relieved when Stalin died on March 5, 1953 and, according to a number of contemporaries, he intervened very slowly and with little competence when Stalin lay on his deathbed. Beria with Stalin in the background and Stalin’s daughter Svetlana Alliloejeva . Svetlana died 22-11-2011, aged 85 in Richland Center, Richland County, Wisconsin, USA  Like many of his party members, Lavrenti Beria did not escape the paranoia of communism. On 26-6-1953, Beria was suddenly rhetorically accused of treason during a congress because he – it was the Cold War – made concessions to the West.

Death and burial ground of Beria, Lavrenti Pavlovich.

The Central Committee spent five days convincing itself of Beria’s guilt and Roman Andriyovych Rudenko, an experienced prosecutor well known to Nikita Khrushchev, was appointed to make certain that the police chief was expeditiously tried, condemned and executed with the maximum appearance of legality. Pravda announced Beria’s fall on July 10th, crediting it to the initiative of Comrade Malenkov  and referring to Beria’s ‘ criminal activities against the Party and the State’. On December 17th, Rudenko’s office announced that Beria and six accomplices, encouraged by foreign intelligence agencies, had been conspiring for many years to seize power in the Soviet Union in order to restore capitalism. A special tribunal was set up. The accused were allowed no representation and no appeal. When the death sentence was passed, according to General Kirill Moskalenko  , Beria fell to the floor and begged on his knees for mercy. It was not a quality he had shown to others, and it was not now shown to him. He and his confederates were taken away and promptly shot. His wife and son were sent to a Siberian labour camp.

Beria was 54, if it was really him. Alternative versions have him shot or strangled months before, with a double standing trial in December. Beria’s son Sergo believed this and says he was told of his father’s death on June 26th. Presumably the point would have been to make certain of the sinister police chief’s demise, while putting a varnish of legality on it later on. It may have happened that way, but it seems unlikely.

Lavrenti Pavlovich Beria is buried on Donskoi Monastery Cemetery, Moscow, Moscow Federal City, Russia. Ashes buried in Communal Grave No. 3.

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