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Lavrenty Beria
Beria
Historical Figure
Nationality: Georgia, Soviet Union (born in the Russian Empire)
Date of Birth: 1899
Date of Death: 1953
Cause of Death: Execution by bullet to the head
Religion:
Occupation: , Spy
Spouse: Nina Gegechkori
Children: Sergo Beria
Professional Affiliations: NKVD, MGB
Political Party: Communist Party of the Soviet Union
Political Office(s): Head of the People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs
First Deputy Chairman of the Council of Ministers
Turtledove Appearances:
The Hot War
POD: November, 1950
Appearance(s): Armistice
Type of Appearance: Contemporary references
Political Office(s): General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union
The Man With the Iron Heart
POD: May 29, 1942;
Relevant POD: May, 1945
Type of Appearance: Contemporary reference
Worldwar
POD: May 30, 1942
Appearance(s): Tilting the Balance;
Striking the Balance;
Second Contact
Type of Appearance: Direct
Date of Death: 1963
Cause of Death: Shot to death
The War That Came Early
POD: July 20, 1936;
Relevant POD: September 29, 1938
Appearance(s): Hitler's War;
Two Fronts
Type of Appearance: Contemporary reference
Joe Steele
POD: 1878;
Relevant POD: July, 1932
Novel or Story?: Story only
Type of Appearance: Contemporary reference
Lavrentiy Pavlovich Beria (also Anglicised as Lavrenty or Lavrenti; Russian, Лаврентий Павлович Берия; Georgian, ლავრენტი პავლეს ძე ბერია) (29 March 1899 – 23 December 1953) was a Soviet politician, and chief of the Soviet security and secret police apparatus under Joseph Stalin. By the end of the Great Purge he had become deputy head and subsequently head of the NKVD and carried out a purge of the NKVD itself. Beria was most influential during and after World War II, and immediately after Stalin's death in 1953, when as First Deputy Prime Minister he carried out a brief campaign of liberalization. He was briefly a part of the ruling "troika" with Georgy Malenkov and Vyacheslav Molotov until the political maneuvering of his political enemies, spear-headed by Nikita Khrushchev, saw Beria arrested for treason and executed with a bullet to the head in short order.

According to several sources, including Molotov, Beria claimed to have killed Stalin, although whether or not he meant he'd directly poisoned Stalin or simply prevented Stalin from getting proper treatment through his own inaction is unclear. Prior to his execution, Beria confessed to a variety of crimes under torture, but directly assassinating Stalin was not one of them.

Lavrenty Beria in The Hot WarEdit

MGB head Lavrenti Beria took power in the Soviet Union during World War III, following the death of Joseph Stalin in an American air raid. Beria was already a powerful, feared man, and political theorist George Kennan likened the prospect of him ruling a nation to the idea of the late J. Edgar Hoover ruling the United States.

However, Beria's rule only lasted for a few weeks in the Summer of 1952. Under circumstances shrouded in secrecy, Beria was deprived of power in favor of Vyacheslav Molotov, who soon signed an armistice with the NATO powers.

Lavrenty Beria in The Man With the Iron HeartEdit

Lavrenty Beria's name inspired great fear in Soviet citizens, even among the generals of the Red Army. Moisei Shteinberg used Beria's name to intimidate General Yuri Vlasov when Vlasov hampered the NKVD's efforts to fight the German Freedom Front.[1]

Lavrenty Beria in WorldwarEdit

Lavrenty Beria (1899-1963) was head of the NKVD in the Soviet Union under Joseph Stalin and Vyacheslav Molotov until he was killed leading a coup to overthrow the latter.

In 1942, when the Race's Conquest Fleet invaded Earth, Beria was critical to the Soviet effort to resist conquest by the aliens. Under his leadership, the NKVD took part in a number of special ops missions against the Race, some in conjunction with the German SS; one such mission captured for the Soviets a sample of plutonium from a Lizard starship, allowing Soviet physicists to build and the Red Army to use a working explosive-metal bomb against Race forces in 1943, nearly two years before the Soviets were able to build such bombs entirely on their own. He also suppressed political dissent in the Soviet government and in areas the Soviet Union continued to control, and he handled both human and Lizard prisoners.

Beria remained head of the NKVD after the Peace of Cairo and for the remainder of Stalin's life. He continued to hold the position under Stalin's successor as General Secretary, Vyacheslav Molotov. During this time he was instrumental in getting material support to Mao Tse-Tung's Communist rebellion in China without the Race's notice.

Molotov distrusted both Beria and Georgy Zhukov, who were, along with Andrei Gromyko, Molotov's most important advisers. Molotov attempted to play Zhukov and Beria, two long time rivals, against one another. Molotov also correctly suspected that Heinrich Himmler's rise to power in Germany further stoked Beria's own ambition, as Himmler had fulfilled the same functions in Germany that Beria had in the USSR.  

In 1963, Beria attempted a coup to replace Molotov. He succeeded in imprisoning Molotov in an NKVD jail in Moscow, but his plans to execute Zhukov were thwarted, thanks in no small part to Zhukov's popularity with the rank and file of the GRU. Additionally, NKVD agent David Nussboym opportunistically helped Molotov escape. Zhukov led a counter-coup to rescue and restore Molotov. Beria was killed by Red Army forces.

Lavrenty Beria in The War That Came EarlyEdit

Lavrenty Beria was one of several people from the Caucasus region who'd "cut a swath" through Soviet politics.[2] Beria himself came to run the NKVD during the Second World War.[3]

Lavrenty Beria in Joe SteeleEdit

Literary CommentEdit

In the short story, Lavrenty Beria is the head of the Soviet security force under Leon Trotsky, drawing parallels to Heinrich Himmler of Germany and J. Edgar Hoover of America. In the novel, Genrikh Yagoda remains the head of the NKVD into the 1950s, and Beria is not mentioned at all.

ReferencesEdit

  1. The Man With the Iron Heart, pg. 413, HC.
  2. Hitler's War, pg. 411.
  3. Two Fronts, pg. 43.
Political offices
(OTL)
Preceded by
Nikolai Yezhov
Head of the People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs (NKVD)
1938-1953
Succeeded by
Ivan Serov
Preceded by
Vyacheslav Molotov
First Deputy Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Soviet Union
5 March 1953 – 26 June 1953
Succeeded by
Lazar Kaganovich
Party political offices
(The Hot War)
Preceded by
Joseph Stalin
General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union
June, 1952
Succeeded by
Vyacheslav Molotov
Political offices
(Worldwar)
Preceded by
Nikolai Yezhov
Head of the People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs (NKVD)
1938-1963
Succeeded by
Unknown

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