Lavrentiy Beria was the head of the KGB following World War II and was Stalin's most trusted officer.
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Lavrentiy Pavlovich Beria (Georgian: ???????? ?????? ?? ?????, Lavrenti Pavles dze Beria; Russian: ????????? ???????? ?????; 29 March 1899 - 23 December 1953) was a Soviet politician, Marshal of the Soviet Union and state security administrator, chief of the Soviet security and secret police apparatus (NKVD) under Joseph Stalin during World War II, and Deputy Premier in the postwar years (1946-1953).
was the longest lived and most influential of Stalin's secret police chiefs, wielding his
most substantial influence during and after World War II.
He simultaneously administered vast sections of the Soviet state and served as de facto Marshal of the Soviet Union in command of the NKVD field units responsible for anti-partisan operations on the Eastern Front during World War II, as well as for acting as barrier troops and the apprehension of thousands of "turncoats, deserters, cowards and suspected malingerers".
administered the vast expansion of the Gulaglabor camps and was primarily responsible for overseeing the secret defense institutions known as sharashkas, critical to the war effort.
also played the decisive role in coordinating the Soviet partisans, developing an impressive intelligence and sabotage network behind German lines.
attended the Yalta Conference with Stalin, who introduced him to U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt as "our Himmler".
After the war, he
organized the communist takeover of the countries of Central Europe and Eastern Europe.
Beria's uncompromising ruthlessness in his duties and skill at producing results culminated in his success in overseeing the Soviet atomic bomb project.
Beria was promoted to First Deputy Premier, where he carried out a brief campaign of liberalization.
was briefly a part of the ruling "troika" with Georgy Malenkov and Vyacheslav Molotov.
Beria's overconfidence in his
position after Stalin's death led him to misjudge the feelings of his
associates, many of whom still had relatives in his
In addition, his
proposals to free East Germany and normalize relations with the United States alarmed other Politburo members, especially in the wake of the 1953 East German uprising which was put down only after an invasion by Soviet troops.
During the coup d'etat led by Nikita Khrushchev and assisted by the military forces of the Marshal Georgy Zhukov, they formed an alliance to remove and kill Beria.