|“||He who is not blind sees that our party, during its difficult days, is closing its ranks still more closely, that it is united and unshakable.||„|
|~ Lavrentiy Beria|
Lavrentiy Beria (March 29th, 1899 - December 23rd, 1953) was a high ranking official of the Soviet Union, a renowned and skilled political player, and a cold blooded killer, one of the few men who could scare even Joseph Stalin. He is best known for having served as the chief of the NKVD.
Stalin often referred to him as "Russia's Himmler".
Beria was born to a Georgian Orthodox Mingrelian family in Merkhueli, Sukhum Okrug, Kutais Governorate in the Russian Empire (present-day Abkhazia, Georgia). Initally working for the Anti-Bolshevik Mussavistis in Baku, when the red army took over the city, Beria was saved from execution purely because there was no time to arrange it. In 1919, aged twenty he started his career in state security and in 1920-21 (accounts differ) he joined Cheka (the orginal Bolshevik secret police). In 1922 he was head of the Georgian branch of Cheka's successor. His ruthlessness and brutal repression of the Georgian national uprising in 1924, in which he had 10,000 people executed. This resulted in him being promoted to Transcaucasian OGPU and receiving the Order of the Red Banner.
Throught the 1920's and 1930's he rose through the ranks at an incredible pace, specialising in the intelligence and counter intelligence operations of Cheka and its many successors. Ultimately becoming the leader of the People’s Commissariat for Internal Affairs (NKVD). According to legend, he personally strangled the man who held the job before him, to ensure the position for his promotion. In 1935 he had become one of Stalin's most trusted and capable subordinates.
Beri was not only a skilled poltical player and manipulator, he was a remorseless killer. As head of the NKVD he would subject suspects to extreme and brutal torture until they gave him the answers he wanted. Where ever he went people went missing, it was Beria who personally oversaw many of Stalin's political purges. The infamous Gulag concentration camps all worked under his supervision.
As Head of the NKVD Beria charged and convicted hundreds of thousands of Russians as Traitors, often under false accusations. Beria created an effective spy network, that stretched across the world and he also dabbled in assassinations. By February 1941, Beria became the deputy prime minister, among the many duties, he oversaw strategic raw material production for the war effort, he used people who had been sent to the Gulug camps as slave labour.
Beria was also a sexual offender and deviant of the highest tier. He routinely raped and abused women who had been taken from the streets for this purpose. Anyone who tried to resist him, he would have them killed. His depravity was well known, and Stalin himself was said to be terrified when he was informed that his own daughter had been left alone with Beria.
Following Stalin's death, unlike many of his followers, Beria was described as being overjoyed, and many of the others feared that he had his eyes aimed at taking over the Soviet union. He was appointed First Deputy Premier and made an alliance with the new Prime minster, Georgy Malenkov, who at the time was the most powerful man, making Beria the second. He also opted for "De-Bolishevikization" of the Soviet unions foreign policy, seeing as the war had caused serious financial problems. However he made many enemies, and suspicious of his motives, the other Communist Party of the Soviet Union leaders were against him. Taking advantage of the spontaneous 1953 East Germany rising, they turned on him. Nikita Khrushchev persuaded the other leaders to support a Party coup against Beria; Beria's principal ally Malenkov abandoned him.
He was arrested, and taken away to a guard house. Where he was tortured, and held under charges of Treason, Terrorism and Counter-Revolutionary actions. He was tried under the Supreme Court of the Soviet Union, and was sentenced to death, X or chance to appeal. According to Moskalenko's later account, Beria pleaded on his knees for mercy before collapsing to the floor and wailing and crying energetically, but to no avail: the other six defendants were executed by firing squad on 23 December 1953, the same day as the trial, while Beria was fatally shot through the forehead by General Batitsky after the latter stuffed a rag into Beria's mouth to silence his bawling. The body of Lavrentiy Pavlovich Beria was subsequently cremated and buried around Moscow's forest.