Demoted Soviet Head Of State Georgi Malenkov Issues Factory Order, 1958
Georgi Malenkov was one of the few old-time Bolsheviks who has survived Stalin's bloody purges of the 1930s. A quiet figure who seemed to prefer working in the background, he was not taken seriously by many of his peers in the Soviet Government , but under Stalin's watchful eye he proceeded up the Soviet hierarchy. When Stalin died in March 1953, Malenkov took the position of Premier and First Secretary of the Communist Party. In just two weeks, his main political opponent in the Communist Party, Nikita Khruschev, had organized a coalition of political and military leaders against Malenkov and took over as First Secretary. In February 1955 this same group voted Malenkov out and a Khruschev puppet, Nikolai Bulganin, took over. Malenkov seethed at this action and in 1957 joined in a plot to overthrow Khruschev. When the attempt failed, he was dismissed from his government positions and expelled from the Communist Party. Instead of imprisonment, Malenkov faced the disgrace of being sent to Kazakhstan to serve as the manager of a hydroelectric plant. In this rare note, written diagonally across the text of a handwritten letter from and engineer named Bartok detailing needed repairs to a boiler valve, Malenkov issues the following order: To Comrade A.P. Kaimer, Manager of the Boiler Shop. Include into the work plan for 5X and report to chief engineer the final schedule detailing site locations for the repair personnel." Signed, G.M. Malenkov." This note illustrates how far he had fallen in the Soviet hierarchy - from ruler of the USSR to plant manager.