Lavrentiy Beria Biography
Lavrentiy Beria started his career in state security and quickly rose through the ranks until he became the chief of the Georgian OGPU (the political police). Whilst ruthlessly putting down a Georgian nationalist uprising he was introduced to Joseph Stalin with whom he became a close ally assisting Stalin to maintain his grip on power.
In 1938 Stalin appointed Beria as second in command of the feared NKVD (state secret police) and within 2 years he had taken full control of the organisation responsible for the great purges that saw millions imprisoned or executed. Beria was responsible for stepping up the Gulags to an industrial scale where millions of prisoners became the Soviet WWII production line for weapons.
Stalin liked Beria's tactics because they produced results and he even likened Beria to the Adolf Hitler appointed head of the Gestapo Heinrich Himmler. In the post WWII period the Gulag system provided Beria with the workforce to mine uranium and build processing plants.
Beria was now a member of the Politburo but his reputation was becoming before him and many knew of his ruthlessness and how he used to revel in the torture and demise of his enemies.
It wasn't just his enemies that had to fear him as he used to cruise the streets of Moscow looking for young girls to bring back to his house so he could rape them. If they resisted they were raped and killed with many of their bodies buried in the grounds of his house. He even had one of his body guards compile a list of all the girls he raped and killed and this was used against him during his downfall from power.
After Stalin died Beria made a power grab but was out manoeuvered by Nikita Khrushchev who had him arrested, tortured by his own police, tried for treason and sentenced to death. Before his execution he fell to his knees and cried for mercy, but just as he never gave any mercy to any of his victims none was awarded to Beria and he was shot through the head. Chilling as they may seem, this is my compilation of 14 of the best Lavrentiy Beria quotes.
Quotes About Lavrentiy Beria
The author Jamie Frater didn't mince his words as he described him thus:
"Beria was one of the few men who could frighten even Stalin.... He was a remorseless killer who didn't hesitate to terminate anyone in his way. As head of NKVD he would do anything to get a confession. Wherever he went, people went missing. Beria personally oversaw many of Stalin's political purges and used this as an opportunity to satisfy his desire for mass murder"
The historian Robert C. Tucker made this assessment:
"A craving for praise was not the only need in Stalin to which Beria ministered. There was also the active propensity for distrusting others, the need born of Stalin's own self accusations to expose, accuse and punish others a s enemies. From this standpoint, the function of Beria was to supply Stalin with ever new objects of distrust and condemnation"
The nuclear physicist Andrei Sakharov felt a shiver down his spine as he spoke to his parents about the
"moist and deathly cold" handshake of Beria:
"Their fear made me conscious of having been face to face with a terrifying human being"
Stalins daughter Svetlana Alliluyeva spoke his her fathers immediate aftermath:
"There was only one person who was behaving in a way that was very nearly obscene. That was Beria. He was extremely agitated. His face, repulsive enough at the best of times, now was twisted by his passions - by ambition, cruelty, cunning and a lust for power and more power still. He was trying so hard at this moment of crisis to strike exactly the right balance to be cunning, yet not too cunning"
Stalin once gave a grim warning to his daughter Svetlana:
"Don't ever accept a lift from Beria... I don't trust Beria"