Brezhnev, Suslov & Georgia
07 July, 2011
Brezhnev, Suslov & Georgia

In 1964 Leonid Brezhnev took over the party leadership in the Soviet Union, having become its first secretary. Kosygin was promoted the chairman of the council of misters of the country and Podgorny occupied the post of the chairman of the presidium of the USSR Supreme Soviet, but in reality, all these important men were stage-managed by Mikhail Suslov – the secretary of the communist party central committee for ideology although he normally stayed in the shadow, enjoying unlimited political

and administrative power. Professor Simon Maskharashvili has more.

GJ – After the Khrushchev’s ouster, the Soviet government was taken over by the three key persons headed by Leonid Brezhnev. The Kremlin attitude towards Georgia had not changed for even an iota. It remained as hate-ridden and xenophobic as ever. What could be said about Brezhnev? What was his political philosophy? How much did he have in common with his predecessors?

SM – Leonid Brezhnev was a head political instructor of the army commanded by General Leselidze (ethnic Georgian). Also, certain Genaral Mzarelua (ethnic Georgian) was Brezhnev’s good friend at the front who was serving in General Lselidze’s army as chief of the state security department, running the so called ‘special service unit’ (Russian –‘Osobi Otdel’). Brezhnev was not exactly an epitome of the austere Soviet way of life – he was an inveterate drunk, and General Mzarelua often winked at his irregular behavior. In 1952, Stalin named Brezhnev as the candidate for membership of the most prestigious Soviet body – the communist party central committee. It goes without saying that he genuinely was Stalin’s own protege. Vasili Mzhavanadze (first secretary of Georgia’s communist party central committee) and Alexi Inauri (chief of Georgia’s state security) played a key role in the 1964 coup d’etat in the Soviet Union. Inauri had an impeccable reputation among the state security people. He was a very intelligent and experienced man with a huge potential of getting things done. Had he played Khrushchev’s card or in other words, had he been on the side of Nikita’s supporters, the 1964 coup d’etat would probably have ended up in fiasco.

GJ – Yes, but what was the connection between those events and Georgia?

SM – By any rules of human relationships and in compliance with any moral standard, the new Soviet leader Brezhnev should have been indebted to Georgians, being more grateful to them for the rest of his life and benevolent towards Georgia for what those decision-making ethnic Georgians had done for him in their own time – not as full of hatred and angry as he was of course. Logically speaking, the relations with Georgia should have gotten warmer and more loyal.

GJ – The fact is that this has never happened. Why?

SM – There were many reasons for this – both subjective and objective. One of the most important factors was that most of the Soviet political elite identified every Georgian with Stalin, as if revenging themselves on Georgians for Stalin’s behavior. This tendency was fragrantly clear in Khrushchev’s time. On the other hand, Stalin’s policy had hurt Georgians more than any other Soviet nationality. With his political and national convictions, Stalin was a dyed-in-the-wool Russian politician. During the Brezhnev rule, the Soviet ideology was headed by Suslov – one of the masterminds of the 1964 coup d’etat in the Soviet Union. According to historians, in 1964 Leonid Brezhnev took over the party leadership in the Soviet Union, having become its first secretary. Kosygin was promoted the chairman of the council of misters of the country and Podgorny occupied the post of the chairman of the presidium of the USSR Supreme Soviet, but in reality, all these important men were stage-managed by Mikhail Suslov – the secretary of the communist party central committee for ideology although he normally stayed in the shadow, enjoying unlimited political and administrative power. His position was also strengthened by his modesty and honesty in personal life. As a matter of fact, it was Stalin who had named him a candidate for the membership of the communist party central committee presidium (politburo).

GJ – Thus Suslov was Stalin’s cadre too, wasn’t he?

SM – He certainly was! He belonged to the wing of young communist leaders promoted by Stalin. Suslov, like Brezhnev should not have had such a personal hatred for Stalin if judged by what Stalin had done for them, but he was known as one of the keenest anti-Georgian zealots.

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