On February 25, 1956, the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union convened. Congresses have always been important turning points in the history of real communist parties, while the 20th Congress gained importance as it was a historical blow to the communist character of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. Without a doubt, the Soviet Union did not lose its socialist character with this congress, but we can say that the 20th Congress should be examined specifically when it comes to the process that led to its dissolution (1991). In stating this, we do not mean to suggest that all the problems in the Soviet Union began in 1956 or with the death of Stalin (1953). Above all, this metaphysical approach fails to explain the deep crisis in the party leadership that immediately surfaced with the death of Yosif Visaryanovich Stalin. Stalin's unique role in the socialist founding process, in the strengthening of workers' power and in the fight against fascism is not open to discussion in any shape or form. However, it is clear that the root causes of the impotence that the Communist Party of the Soviet Union fell into after Stalin's death should be sought in the years before 1953.
Instead of seeking an answer to the question of why the Communist Party of the Soviet Union entered a leadership crisis, this article will focus on the impact of the speech delivered by the CPSU Central Committee First Secretary, Nikita Khrushchev in a closed session, on the world communist movement and the Soviet Union. This speech, which we will describe as "destructive" without hesitation, was prepared to eliminate or paralyze the obstacles standing in the way of the strategic direction that had crystallized at the 20th Congress.
Khrushchev achieved his goal. In 1964, when he was dismissed, the Communist Party of the Soviet Union had become a party that had lost its ability to discuss in a healthy fashion what had happened at the 20th Congress, and which, to put it most mildly, was doomed to stagnation. In official Soviet historiography, the subject began to be glossed over with the concept of a “personality cult”, and the name of Stalin, who led the country and the party for many years, was mentioned only with this concept. With Garbachev and the accompanying counter-revolutionary team taking over the leadership, the issue started to be discussed in more detail, but this time with an anti-communist hysteria that would make one yearn for Khrushchev...
But was this speech really that important and effective? Today, Khrushchev is featured in the imperialist media with his protest against the representative of the Philippines at the UN General Assembly by banging his shoes on the table in 1960, as well as with his speech at the 20th Congress. In more detailed analysis, he is considered a reformist who left his work unfinished.
Yes, Khrushchev did not lead the destruction of the Soviet Union, in fact, the Soviet Union made serious breakthroughs in some areas during his era, but if the Soviet Union radically lost steam in the international class struggle since 1956, that ominous speech by Khrushchev played an important role in this.
However, the content of this report-like speech was extremely weak. The fact that the Congress delegates of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union did not revolt against this eclectic and inconsistent speech, which was full of lies, distortions and confessions, is an indication of the serious stagnation in the party between 1953-56, let alone before.
On the other hand, the only condition for not objecting to Khrushchev's speech and for the speech to be effective was that it should be based on lies! It was obvious that Khrushchev's ideological-political abilities would not be enough to settle accounts with the Stalin era, and it would be absurd for him to initiate a process that would damage his own legitimacy. All he had to do was shock the already confused delegates. As if gossiping in a neighborhood cafe, he came up with one lie after the other, and the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, which had passed many tests till then, almost completely broke with the Bolshevik tradition.
What was the objective here?
Some historians, especially Grover Furr, rightly claim that Khrushchev shifted responsibility to Stalin and Beria and falsified the facts in order to conceal his own role in the bloody purges of 1936-1938. Many documents that have emerged in recent years support this claim. But at the heart of what happened at the 20th Congress are elements that go far beyond this type of self-emancipation effort. As a matter of fact, the historians in question also emphasize this.
In order to understand the purpose of Khrushchev in preparing the report he read in the closed session of the 20th Congress, it is necessary to examine the results of the speech: