Russia warns enemies not to take advantage of Stalin's death


LONDON, March 6, 1953 (UP) -- Russia, which probably will be without a premier for a month or two, today warned her enemies not to try to take advantage of the crisis caused by the death of Josef Stalin.

A few hours after Stalin died Radio Moscow boomed this morning around the world:


"The Soviet people know that the defense capacity and the might of the Soviet state are growing and strengthening, that the party is in every way strengthening the Soviet army, navy and intelligence organs with the view to constantly raising our preparedness for a decisive rebuff to any aggressor."

Observers in London agreed that Stalin's death had plunged Russia into her worst crisis since German armies of World War II knocked at the gates of Moscow. The fight for Stalin's mantle may already be under way, but it will not be resolved for some time.


It may be a month or two before a formal successor to Stalin as premier of the USSR is named. The Supreme Soviet (Russia's congress) usually meets between March and May, and that would be a logical time to make the announcement.

Stalin held three titles, one in the Soviet government (premier) and two in the Communist Party, head of the presidium of the central committee and general secretary of the central committee.

Western experts think that V.M. Molotov, as senior vice premier of Russia, will fall heir to the premiership. But they see the two top jobs in the Communist Party going to Georgi Malenkov, moon-faced former secretary to Stalin and currently party secretary.

In this lineup, Malenkov would be the power behind the throne.

Many of the persons who may have a voice in choosing Stalin's successor are not even in Moscow now. Foreign Minister Andrei Vishinsky sails from New York today.

Jacques Duclos, acting leader of the French Communist Party, is booking passage from Paris. Leaders of the Soviet satellites in Europe are reported to be hurrying to Moscow to attend the Stalin funeral and then stay on to participate in the struggle for power.

As near as can be determined the situation in Moscow is as follows:


The men in the Kremlin are concerned about the reaction of the Russian people and have broadcast to them an appeal to stand by the Communist Party -- "in these sorrowful days all the people of our country are rallying even closer in the great fraternal family of the Communist Party."

Anybody who thinks a revolution will break out immediately probably is engaging in wishful thinking. All indications are that the secret police of Laurenti Beria have the nation firmly under control. All broadcasts and press reaction from European capitals indicate the satellite states are standing firm.

Molotov appears in control premier, appears to be in control of the government temporarily.

It is unlikely that there will be any immediate shift in Russian foreign policy. Even if his successor wanted to make some changes, it would take a long time to re-orient the nation's policy. A change in attitude toward the Korean war, for instance, would have to be carefully negotiated with the Chinese Communists.

Pravda- official newspaper of the Communist Party - gave Malenkov, party secretary, a pat on the back by mentioning him in an editorial in the same breath with Stalin and Lenin. This indication that Malenkov might become the new party chief would make the 51-year-old party secretary the power behind the throne- as was Stalin from 1924, when Lenin died, until he became premier in May 1941.


Western observers are agreed that Malenkov, Molotov and Beria are definitely hostile to the United States.

Malenkov came up in the ranks with Stalin and has exercised iron-fisted control over the all-powerful Communist Party. During the war, he was a member of the committee of five which directed Russia's defense. He has the party- the major source of Russian power- under his thumb as head of the secretariat of the central committee.

If he wins the struggle for power, American and British officials feel he will follow Stalin's course- drive for world domination. However, it was felt he would avoid war if possible.

Malenkov has an active supporter in Marshal Nikolai N. Bulganin, the man responsible for the Soviet Union's armed forces. Bulganin himself might be contender for the top position, but it is not believed to have shown any sign of entering the struggle at present.

Molotov is bad-tempered and bitterly anti-western. He is ultra nationalistic and has no respect or love for anything non-Russian.

His accession to power quite possibly might worsen East-West relations.

Beria generally is considered to be an outsider in the race. But he could very much enhance Malenkov's chances by throwing his support behind him- which Washington and London officials believe he may do.


He is the ruthless, all-powerful chief of the secret police, head of the elaborate Soviet security network and is in charge of Russia's atomic projects.

If he should elect to challenge Malenkov and Molotov, his private army of police would be a big threat. He enjoyed the implicit trust of his fellow Georgian- Stalin.

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