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Khrushchev’s “secret speech”

openDemocracy Opendemocracy
20 February 2006

Nikita Khrushchev’s secret speech

Nikita Khrushchev addresses assembled delegates at a closed-session on the last night of the 20th Congress of the Soviet Communist Party. In his speech, Khrushchev described Stalin as a "flawed leader" and a "despot" who had acted like a pathological criminal. Such accusations, coming less than three years after Stalin's death, caused a sensation. Many old party members felt he had gone too far, while others were clearly relieved. It seems that the speech was never intended to remain secret; copies of it were sent to party officials and to foreign communist parties. The CIA eventually obtained the speech, and it was published in the west in June 1956. Further links: The "secret speech entry" on soviethistory.org CNN's special Cold War section, which includes excerpts of the speech The speech in full BBC on this day, plus an article from John Rettie, the Reuters journalist who helped break the story in the west

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