Lavrentiy Beria

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Lavrentiy Beria

Lavrentiy Pavlovich Beria (29 March 189923 December 1953) was a Soviet politician, and chief of the Soviet security and secret police apparatus under Joseph Stalin. He was top deputy of the NKVD during the Great Purge, responsible for many of the millions of imprisonments and killings. He was arrested and executed by his political rivals during the period of de-Stalinization.


  • Do you know that there’s hardly anyone left of last year’s Caucasian governments? I’ve tried to stop it, but in vain. Yet they can’t all be Trotskyites and traitors.
    • Quoted in "The Kremlin and the People" by Walter Duranty (2007), p. 126
  • The enemies of the Soviet state calculate that the heavy loss we have borne will lead to disorder and confusion in our ranks. But their expectations are in vain: bitter disillusionment awaits them. He who is not blind sees that our party, during its difficult days, is closing its ranks still more closely, that it is united and unshakable.
    • Quoted in "The Current Digest of the Soviet Press" Joint Committee (1953), p. 9


Published in the United States in 1955 by L. Ron Hubbard as Beria's work, no evidence of its authenticity has emerged since the collapse of the Soviet Union. An undated edition by neo-Nazi Kenneth Goff claims that he was the compiler, and Morris Kominsky in his The Hoaxers: Plain Liars, Fancy Liars and Damned Liars (1970) argued that Goff was its author. The text of both editions contains references to L. Ron Hubbard's Dianetics, and the differences between them are minimal. L. Ron Hubbard, Jr., says that his father wrote every word of it. See Paul F. Boller, Jr., and John George, They Never Said It: A Book of Fake Quotes, Misquotes, & Misleading Attributions (1989), p. 6. An online edition of Brain-Washing appears here.
  • To produce a maximum of chaos in the culture of the enemy is our first most important step. Our fruits are grown in chaos, distrust, economic depression and scientific turmoil. At least a weary populace can seek peace only in our offered Communist State, at last only Communism can resolve the problems of the masses.
  • In a Capitalistic state you are aided on all sides by the corruption of the philosophy of man and the times. You will discover that everything will aid you in your campaign to seize, control and use all "mental healing" to spread our doctrine and rid us of our enemies within their own borders.
  • By psychopolitics create chaos. Leave a nation leaderless. Kill our enemies. And bring to Earth, through Communism, the greatest peace Man has ever known.
  • If we can effectively kill the national pride and patriotism of just one generation, we will have won that country. Therefore we must continue propaganda abroad to undermine the loyalty of citizens in general and of teen-agers in particular.

Quotes about Beria

  • The dilemma between satisfying workers' pent up demands and defending the socialist state was precisely the challenge of the new Soviet leadership after Stalin. The group that had come to power—Georgii Malenkov as premier, Lavrentii Beriia as head of the secret police, Nikita Khrushchev as party first secretary, Viacheslav Molotov as foreign minister, Nikolai Bulganin as defense minister—feared the collapse of Communist rule as much as they feared and distrusted each other. Through his brutality and the respect he commanded, Stalin had been the guarantor of Communist rule and the final adjudicator of all things political. With him gone, his Kremlin successors all agreed that tension had to be reduced and compromises found if the Soviet state and its alliances were not to be seriously threatened. The first signal of new policies was the sudden release of the Jewish doctors arrested by Stalin, who were accused of trying to murder him and other Soviet leaders. Beriia, as the former head of the secret police, may have tried to cover his own tracks by announcing that this and other cases were violations of “socialist legality.” Unnerved by Beriia’s vigorous involvement in policy-making, the other leaders conspired against him, and he was arrested in July 1953 and executed by the end of the year. According to several witnesses, General Pavel Batitskii, the commander of the Moscow Air Defense Region, shot the most feared man in Russia through the head at close range when he would not willingly walk to the execution ground.
    • Odd Arne Westad, The Cold War: A World History (2017)
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