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Lazar Kaganovich

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Lazar Kaganovich

Lazar Moiseyevich Kaganovich (Ла́зарь Моисе́евич Кагано́вич) (November 22, 1893July 25, 1991) was a Soviet politician and a supporter of Joseph Stalin.

In 1930, he became a member of the Soviet Politburo, and during the 1930s he became famous for his modernization of Moscow, including the construction of the first phase of the Moscow Metro. The Metro was named after Kaganovich until 1955. He also supervised the implementation of many of Stalin's economic policies, including the collectivization of agriculture and rapid industrialization.

According to Robert Conquest and many historians of the period, Kaganovich, in league with Vyacheslav Molotov, engineered the 1932-33 Ukrainian famine or Holodomor in which 7 to 10 million people died (although different sources give a widely varying number of dead), motivated by the goal of preventing the possible opposition that the relatively self-sufficient peasantry posed, combined with chauvinist anti-Ukrainian and anti-Kazakh measures aimed at eradication or diminution of Ukrainians and ethno-territorial expansion of Russians. However, other academics in Soviet studies such as Moshe Lewin, Alexander Dallin and Alec Nove dismiss the idea that the famine was a deliberate act.

Kaganovich was Jewish by birth, but ideologically he was a staunch atheist. He was, until 1957, a full member of the Politburo and the Presidium. Kaganovich was an early mentor of Nikita Khrushchev, who first rose to prominence as his Moscow City deputy in the 1930s. In 1947, when Khrushchev was stripped of the Party leadership in Ukraine (he remained in the somewhat lesser head of government job), Stalin dispatched Kaganovich to replace him until the former was reinstated late that year.

Kaganovich was a rigid Stalinist, and though he remained in the Presidium, quickly lost influence after Stalin's death in March 1953. In 1957, along with fellow hard-line Stalinist Molotov and Georgy Malenkov (the so-called Anti-Party Group), he participated in an abortive party coup against his former protege Khrushchev, who had over the preceding two years become increasingly harsh in his criticism of Stalin. As a result, Kaganovich was forced to retire from the Presidium and the Central Committee, and in 1964 he was expelled from the party.

Kaganovich survived to the age of 97, dying just before the events that led to the final unravelling of the Soviet Union in 1991.

fr:Lazare Kaganovitch

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