Friday, 31 March 2023 to Sunday, 2 April 2023

Beria vs. Khrushchev: The Power Struggle over Nationality Policy and the Case of Latvia

Fri31  Mar02:50pm(20 mins)
East Quad Lecture Theatre


Michael Loader1
1 University of Glasgow, UK


In their battle to succeed Stalin in 1953, Lavrentii Beria and Nikita Khrushchev temporarily cooperated to launch an indigenising nationality policy in the Soviet Republics to compete for support among the non-Russian nationalities. The impact of this little-known collaboration was the ‘New Course’ for the Soviet periphery. This paper examines the ‘New Course’ and its repercussions in Latvia. Moscow struggled to control the programme after it unleashed a wave of anti-Russian sentiment. With encouragement from nationally-minded politicians in the Latvian leadership, Russian cadres began to be ousted from leading Party and government positions, sent back to Russia and replaced by ethnic Latvians.