De-Stalinisation and Insubordination in the Soviet Borderlands: Beria’s Attempted National Reform in Soviet Belarus

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This article examines the response of the regional elites in Soviet Belarus to the new nationalities policy introduced by Lavrentii Beria in his bid for power after Stalin’s death in 1953. The scenario, which had successfully played out in Ukraine, Lithuania and Latvia, failed to be imposed on Belarus, whose Russian First Secretary Nikolai Patolichev remained in post, despite Moscow’s orders. A key role in this was played by the republic’s regional secretaries. Their unwillingness to denounce their patron highlighted the emerging importance of regional networks and set an important precedent for the post-Stalin relationship between Moscow and the ethnic periphery.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)387-409
Number of pages23
JournalEurope-Asia Studies
Issue number2
Early online date19 Oct 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2021


  • Belarus
  • Soviet
  • Soviet nationality policy
  • Beria
  • De-Stalinisation
  • Soviet republics
  • Patolichev
  • Belarusian Communist Party
  • Soviet regional secretaries
  • 2020

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