Beria, Lavrenty Pavlovich

▪ Soviet government official
Beria also spelled Beriya
born March 29 [March 17, old style], 1899, Merkheuli, Russia
died Dec. 23, 1953, Moscow
 director of the Soviet secret police who played a major role in the purges of Stalin's opponents.

      Having joined the Communist Party in 1917, Beria participated in revolutionary activity in Azerbaijan and Georgia before he was drawn into intelligence and counterintelligence activities (1921) and appointed head of the Cheka (secret police) in Georgia. He became party boss of the Transcaucasian republics in 1932 and personally oversaw the political purges in those republics during Stalin's Great Purge (purge trials) (1936–38). Beria was brought to Moscow in 1938 as the deputy to Nikolay Yezhov, head of the People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs (NKVD), the Soviet secret police. Yezhov was apparently arrested and shot on Stalin's orders, and Beria became head of the secret police (1938–53). He supervised a purge of the police bureaucracy itself and administered the vast network of labour camps set up throughout the country. In February 1941 he became a deputy prime minister of the U.S.S.R., and during World War II, as a member of the State Defense Committee, he not only controlled the Soviet Union's internal-security system but also played a major role in raw-materials production using the slave labour in the camps. He was made a marshal of the U.S.S.R. in 1945. He was also a member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party from 1934 and of the executive policy-making committee, the Politburo, from 1946. When the Politburo was reorganized as the Presidium in 1952, Beria retained his seat.

      Soon after Stalin's death in March 1953, Beria became one of four deputy prime ministers as well as head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, an organization which at that time combined both the secret political and regular police functions. During the ensuing struggle for power, Beria apparently attempted to use his position as chief of the secret police to succeed Stalin as sole dictator. By July 1953, however, he had been defeated by an anti-Beria coalition (led by Georgy M. Malenkov, Vyacheslav M. Molotov, and Nikita S. Khrushchev). He was arrested, deprived of his government and party posts, and publicly accused of being an “imperialist agent” and of conducting “criminal antiparty and antistate activities.” Convicted of these charges at his trial in December 1953, Beria was immediately executed.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Beria, Lavrenty Pavlovich — (1899–1953)    Born in the Mingrelian region of Georgia, Beria spent the years of the Russian civil war working for various intelligence services in the Caucasus. He joined the Cheka in 1921 and advanced quickly. He transferred to Communist Party …   Historical dictionary of Russian and Soviet Intelligence

  • Beria, Lavrenty (Pavlovich) — born March 29, 1899, Merkheuli, Russia died Dec. 23, 1953, Moscow, Russia, U.S.S.R. Soviet politician and director of the Soviet secret police. He worked in intelligence and counterintelligence activities from 1921. As Communist Party head of the …   Universalium

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  • Pavlovich — (as used in expressions) Aleksandr Pavlovich Beria Lavrenty Pavlovich Chekhov Anton Pavlovich Diaghilev Sergey Pavlovich Ignatyev Nikolay Pavlovich Count Korolyov Sergey Pavlovich Nikolay Pavlovich * * * …   Universalium

  • Lavrenty Beria — Lavrenti Beria /pictures/frwiki/60/ /pictures/frwiki/60/ Beria avec Staline et la fille de celui ci, /pictures/frwiki/60/Svetlana Lavrentiy Pavlovitch Beria (/pictures/frwiki/60/ …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Beria — Lavrenti Beria /pictures/frwiki/60/ /pictures/frwiki/60/ Beria avec Staline et la fille de celui ci, /pictures/frwiki/60/Svetlana Lavrentiy Pavlovitch Beria (/pictures/frwiki/60/ …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Beria — or Beriya biographical name Lavrenty Pavlovich 1899 1953 Russian politician …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Lavrentiy Beria — Infobox Officeholder name = Lavrentiy Pavlovich Beria Georgian: ლავრენტი პავლეს ძე ბერია, Lavrenti Pavles dze Beria Russian: Лаврентий Павлович Берия imagesize = 113px nationality = Georgian / Soviet order = Commissariat for Internal Affairs… …   Wikipedia

  • Lavrentiy Beria — Lavrenti Beria /pictures/frwiki/60/ /pictures/frwiki/60/ Beria avec Staline et la fille de celui ci, /pictures/frwiki/60/Svetlana Lavrentiy Pavlovitch Beria (/pictures/frwiki/60/ …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Lavrenti Beria — Lavrenti Pavlovitch Beria (Lavrenti Pavles dze Beria en géorgien : ლავრენტი პავლეს ძე ბერია) ; Lavrentiï Pavlovitch Beria (russe : Лаврентий Павлович Берия) (Merkheoul 29 mars 1899 Moscou 23 décembre 1953) est… …   Wikipédia en Français

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