Anti-Party Group

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Anti-Party Group
Антипартийная группа
LeaderGeorgy Malenkov
Vyacheslav Molotov
Lazar Kaganovich
FounderVyacheslav Molotov

Lazar Kaganovich

Georgy Malenkov
FoundedFebruary 1956 (1956-02)
DissolvedJune 1957 (1957-06)
Political positionFar-left
National affiliationCPSU
Seats in the Presidium of the communist party of the Soviet Union7

The Anti-Party Group (Russian: Антипартийная группа, tr. Antipartiynaya gruppa) was a Stalinist group within the leadership of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union that unsuccessfully attempted to depose Nikita Khrushchev as First Secretary of the Party in June 1957. The group, given that epithet by Khrushchev, was led by former Premiers Georgy Malenkov and Vyacheslav Molotov and former First Deputy Chairman Lazar Kaganovich. The group rejected both Khrushchev's liberalization of Soviet society and his denunciation of Joseph Stalin, and promoted the full restoration and preservation of Stalinism.


The members of the group regarded Khrushchev's attacks on Stalin, most famously in the Secret Speech delivered at the 20th Congress of the CPSU in 1956 as wrong and hypocritical, given Khrushchev's complicity in the Great Purge and similar events as one of Stalin's favorites. They believed that Khrushchev's policy of peaceful coexistence would jeopardize struggle against capitalist powers internationally.

Attempted take-over[edit]

1957 Soviet coup d'état attempt
Part of the Khrushchev Thaw
DateJune 1957

Coup fails

Presidium of the CPSU Central Committee
Anti-Party Group
Central Committee
Soviet Army
Commanders and leaders
Georgy Malenkov
Vyacheslav Molotov
Lazar Kaganovich
Nikita Khrushchev
Georgy Zhukov

The leaders of the group – Malenkov, Molotov and Kaganovich – were joined at the last minute by Foreign Minister Dmitri Shepilov, whom Kaganovich had convinced that the group had a majority. Although they did not have a majority in the entire Presidium of the CPSU Central Committee, they had a majority of the Presidium's full members,[1] who were the only ones that could vote.[2] In the Presidium the group's proposal to replace Khrushchev as First Secretary with Premier Nikolai Bulganin won with 7 to 4 votes in which Malenkov, Molotov, Kaganovich, Bulganin, Voroshilov, Pervukhin and Saburov supported and Khrushchev, Mikoyan, Suslov and Kirichenko opposed,[3] but Khrushchev argued that only the plenum of the Central Committee could remove him from office. At an extraordinary session of the Central Committee held in late June, Khrushchev argued that his opponents were an "anti-party group".

Khrushchev had the approval of the military, headed by Minister of Defense Georgy Zhukov. At that plenary session of Central Committee Zhukov supported Khrushchev, and used the military to bring in supporters of Khrushchev to convince people to support him. He made a bitter speech, accusing the group of having blood on their hands over Stalin's atrocities. He even went further saying that he had the military power to crush them, stating: "The Army is against this resolution and not even a tank will leave its position without my order!".[4] In the end of the power struggle, Khruschev was reaffirmed in his position as First Secretary.[5]


Malenkov, Molotov, Kaganovich and Shepilov – the only four names made public – were vilified in the press and deposed from their positions in party and government. They were given relatively unimportant positions:

  • Molotov was sent as ambassador to Mongolia
  • Malenkov became director of a hydroelectric plant in Kazakhstan
  • Kaganovich became director of a small potash works in the Urals
  • Shepilov became head of the Economics Institute of the local Academy of Sciences of Kyrgyzstan

In 1961, in the wake of further de-Stalinisation, they were expelled from the Communist Party altogether and all lived mostly quiet lives from then on. Shepilov was allowed to rejoin the party by Khrushchev's successor Leonid Brezhnev in 1976 but remained on the sidelines.

Khrushchev became increasingly distrusting and in the same year also deposed Defense Minister Zhukov, who had assisted him against the anti-party group but with whom he increasingly had political differences, alleging Bonapartism. In 1958, Premier Bulganin, the intended beneficiary of the anti-party group's move, was forced to retire and Khrushchev became Premier as well.

Khrushchev's treatment of his opponents, in that they were vilified and humiliated but not physically oppressed, marked a departure from earlier practice in Soviet politics (as last seen in 1953 during the purge of Lavrenti Beria) – a development that was followed during later power struggles, such as Khrushchev's own deposition by Brezhnev in 1964 and the failed coup against Mikhail Gorbachev in August 1991.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Tompson, William J. (1995). Khrushchev--a political life. New York City: St. Martin's Press. ISBN 978-0-312-12365-9 – via Internet Archive.
  2. ^ Huskey, Eugene (1992). Executive Power and Soviet Politics: The Rise and Decline of the Soviet State. M.E. Sharpe. p. 38. ISBN 978-1-56324-059-1.
  3. ^ Kramer, Mark (1999). "Declassified Materials from CPSU Central Committee Plenums. Sources, Context, Highlights". Cahiers du Monde russe. 40 (1/2): 271–306. ISSN 1252-6576. JSTOR 20171129.
  4. ^ Afanasyev, Y. N. Нет другого пути [There Is No Other Way] (in Russian).
  5. ^ Siegelbaum, Lewis (19 June 2015). "The Anti-Party Group". Seventeen Moments in Soviet History. Retrieved 29 September 2020.

External links[edit]