The Novodevichy Cemetery is a small site that is considered one of the most attractive spots on Moskovsky Prospekt. Of course, it is not as remarkable as its namesake in Moscow, but there is still plenty to see here, namely the graves of numerous distinguished statesmen, military leaders, writers, poets, scholars, artists and entertainers. At one time this cemetery was the most prestigious and well-maintained in the city.
This is the grave of former Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev. The cemetery is the last resting place for many people who were household names in Russia and the Soviet Union, including Anton Chekhov, Nikolai Gogol, Mikhail Bulgakov, Sergei Prokofiev, and Boris Yeltsin.
Khrushchev had been a henchman of Stalin, participating in his many crimes, but initiated de-Stalinization reforms when he succeeded to the top position.
Nikita Khrushchev (1894-1971)
He led the Soviet Union during the height of the Cold War, serving as premier from 1958 to 1964. Though he largely pursued a policy of peaceful coexistence with the West, the Cuban Missile Crisis began after he positioned nuclear weapons 90 miles from Florida. At home, he initiated a process of “de-Stalinization” that made Soviet society less repressive.
Yet Khrushchev could be authoritarian in his own right, crushing a revolt in Hungary and approving the construction of the Berlin Wall. Known for his colorful speeches, he once took off and brandished his shoe at the United Nations.
Khrushchev was born on April 15, 1894, in Kalinovka, a small Russian village near the Ukrainian border. At age 14 he moved with his family to the Ukrainian mining town of Yuzovka, where he apprenticed as a metalworker and performed other odd jobs.
In 1929 Khrushchev moved to Moscow, where he steadily rose through the Communist Party ranks. Eventually he entered the inner circle of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin, who by that time had consolidated control over the country and instituted a bloody purge of perceived enemies. Millions of people were killed or imprisoned in Gulag labor camps, and millions more died in famines brought on by the forced collectivization of agriculture.
During World War II, Khrushchev mobilized troops to fight Nazi Germany in the Ukraine and at Stalingrad. After the war, he helped to rebuild the devastated countryside while simultaneously stifling Ukrainian nationalist dissent. By the time Stalin died in March 1953, Khrushchev had positioned himself as a possible successor. Six months later, he became head of the Communist Party and one of the most powerful people in the USSR.
Khrushchev, who was about to visit the United States on a peace mission when the killings happened, released an announcement through the Russian news agency, TASS, calling on both sides to reach a negotiated settlement. The Chinese were greatly offended, seeing it as more evidence of the Soviets breaking ranks with their communist partners.
Khrushchev’s visit to China also came just months after the Dalai Lama had fled to India.
The testy exchanges, much of which centred on differences over India, foretold the Sino-Soviet rift that would ensue. They offer a rare glimpse of how the events leading up to the 1962 China-India war, usually seen as a localised border clash, had far wider implications than generally understood.
SINO-SOVIET RIFT SPLIT
Once Khrushchev came to power in the USSR, he denounced Stalin, and a Mao saw, introduced a revisionist approach. This led to the Sino-Soviet Split which broke off relations between China and the USSR. This video also looks at aspects of domestic life in China which worsened the split, such as the Great Leap Forward 1958-1961 and the Cultural Revolution 1966. Analysis is also payed to the Vietnam War and the border disputes.
Caleb Maupin is a widely acclaimed speaker, writer, journalist, and political analyst. He has traveled extensively in the Middle East and in Latin America. He was involved with the Occupy Wall Street movement from its early planning stages, and has been involved many struggles for social justice. He is an outspoken advocate of international friendship and cooperation, as well 21st Century Socialism.
BRIDGE TO MOSCOW
Novodevichy Cemetery can be divided into two sections: the ‘old’ one located on the convent grounds; and a ‘new’ one that adjoins the cloister. Since its very beginnings the convent has been a burial place for nuns of noble origins, as well as prominent personalities, heroes of the Napoleonic wars, historians, philosophers, and merchants. The new cemetery was laid out later and became the most prestigious place to be interred in Moscow, after the Kremlin necropolis in the Soviet era.
Novodevichy Cemetery is a cemetery in Moscow. It lies next to the southern wall of the 16th-century Novodevichy Convent, which is the city’s third most popular tourist site.
KITCHEN DEBATE – AMERICA AND SOVIET UNION (1959)
This video gives a brief description of Richard Nixon’s 1959 visit to the Soviet Union and Nikita Khrushchev’s visit to the United States. Teachers, check out our Cold War workbook:
Nikita Khrushchev was a statesman and reformer who brought Russia and the world to the brink of catastrophe. Stalin’s Great Terror, de-Stalinization and the worst crises of the Cold War are closely linked with his name. Learn about the life and legacy of leadership of Nikita Khrushchev through interviews with his children.
The human soul is never simple and must never be viewed as such.