Upon the death of Stalin in March of 1953, ending twenty-five years of psychological and fear tactic domination by the Stalin regime, a collective leadership replaced the totalitarian ruler of the USSR. From that consequent power struggle, Nikita Khrushchev, bolstered by a strong agricultural background and a heroic military reputation for his leadership in the battle at Slalingrad, arose and took the reigns of leadership from 1953 to 1964. This period is characterized by a dramatic series of reforms, at first quite successful, then ultimately strewn with self-contradictory failure, that touched on every aspect of Soviet life. Khrushchev's reform agenda relied on an all-encompassing goal towards "de-Stalinization”, geared towards exposing then reversing Stalin's most heinous abuses of power. The program was comprised by a series of societal reforms that started with the liberation of prison camp victims, measures limiting bureaucratic abuses, and broad economic and welfare reforms set to undue the problems of the Five-Year Plan and place Russia on a fast road towards industrial and agricultural competition. The following paper will discuss Khrushchev's successes and ultimate failure during this tumultuous period of "de-Stalinization”. .
After Russia's victory in World War II and the 1949 Revolution in China, followed thereafter by the establishment of Stalinist regimes throughout Eastern Europe, the regime at home in the Soviet Union was strengthened in power and perception. With that kind of success, the Stalinist regime was perceived by many to be the zenith of socialist systems. The Stalinist bureaucracy also succeeded throughout this period in developing its productive industrial forces. Still a far cry from the United States, its primary vision of success, it was moving by leaps and bounds closer to the productive society that the Stalinists so deeply hoped for. After World War II, Russia had begun to transform itself into the second industrial power and the first military power on earth (Grant 105).