Anti-Party Group

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Anti-Party Group
Антипартийная группа
LeaderGeorgy Malenkov
Vyacheslav Molotov
Lazar Kaganovich
FounderVyacheslav Molotov
Lazar Kaganovich
Georgy Malenkov
FoundedFebruary 1956; 67 years ago (1956-02)
DissolvedJune 1957; 66 years ago (1957-06)
Political positionFar-left
National affiliationCPSU
Seats in the Politburo7

The Anti-Party Group, fully referenced in the Soviet political parlance as "the anti-Party group of Malenkov, Kaganovich, Molotov and Shepilov, who joined them" (Russian: Антипартийная группа Маленкова, Кагановича, Молотова и примкнувшего к ним Шепилова, romanizedAntipartiynaya gruppa Malenkova, Kaganovicha, Molotova i primknuvshego k nim Shepilova)[1] 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 Premier 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]

On June 18, 1957, 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 11 full members, [2] who were the only ones that could vote.[3] 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,[4] 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 on June 22, 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. Zhukov emphasized that the Red Army supported Khrushchev: "The Army is against this resolution and not even a tank will leave its position without my order!".[5] In the end of the power struggle, Khruschev was reaffirmed in his position as First Secretary.[6]


Malenkov, Molotov, Kaganovich and Shepilov were vilified in the press and deposed from their positions in party and government by a June 29, 1957 decree of the Plenum of the Central Committee of the CPSU.[1] 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 1958, Premier Bulganin, the intended beneficiary of the anti-party group's move, was forced to retire and Khrushchev became Premier as well.

In 1961, in the wake of further de-Stalinisation, Molotov, Malenkov, Kaganovich, and Shepilov 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 also deposed Defense Minister Zhukov in 1961. Zhukov had assisted Khrushchev against the anti-party group, but the two developed significant political differences in the following years. Khrushchev alleged Bonapartism as a justification for Zhukov's removal.

As a result of the incident, Khrushchev's position within the international communist bloc became insecure for a time, thus necessitating the support of the Communist Party of China and Mao Zedong. The CPC thus traded its support for Khrushchev for Soviet technology of nuclear weapons. The Agreement on New Technology for National Defence was signed in October of that year.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Khrushchev Expels the ‘Anti-Party Group’", English translation of the June 29, 1957 decree
  2. ^ Tompson, William J. (1995). Khrushchev—a political life. New York City: St. Martin's Press. p. 179. ISBN 978-0-312-12365-9 – via Internet Archive.
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ 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.
  5. ^ Afanasyev, Y. N. Нет другого пути [There Is No Other Way] (in Russian).
  6. ^ Siegelbaum, Lewis (19 June 2015). "The Anti-Party Group". Seventeen Moments in Soviet History. Retrieved 29 September 2020.
  7. ^ MacFarquhar, Roderick (1983). The Origins of the Cultural Revolution- 2. The Great Leap Forward, 1958–1960. pp. 11–12.

External links[edit]