Biographical sketches of six major personalities of the Stalin era, three of whom are still alive – intended by dissident historian Medvedev to show what qualities were required for political survival. The six: Marshal Kliment Voroshilov, Military Commissar between the wars; Anastas Mikoyan, one-time Minister of Foreign Trade and formal head of government under Khrushchev; Mikhail Suslov, party ideologist until his death in 1982; V. M. Molotov, former Foreign Minister; Lazar Kaganovich, once Stalin’s main troubleshooter and a central figure in the 1936-38 party purges; and Georgy Malenkov, Stalin’s heir-apparent and the man who was briefly in charge after the dictator’s death in 1953. The last three survive but are almost unknown to the younger generation. What they all share, aside from modest roots (only Molotov was born into a moderately well-off family), is a notable lack of creativity.
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