An Interview with Sergei Khrushchev
by Gordon Bakken
I MET SERGEI Khrushchev (son of Nikita Khrushchev, leader of the Soviet Union from 1953 to 1964) in March 2002 while on a cruise around South America. He was there as a lecturer, and I was on vacation with an old friend from high school. I looked for him one day and was told he was relaxing on deck. I asked if I could talk to him. He said yes.
One of he first things I asked him was if the Jews had much to do with Communism in the USSR. He emphatically replied that in the first Communist government there were 18 commissars, and 15 were Jews. That seemed clear. “But,” I said, “how about today? Are there any Jews in the Russian government today?” (The Soviet government had dissolved, so there was no USSR at that time.) “Well,” he said, “let me think. Yes, it is about 50% Jewish.”
Hmmm, I thought, I wonder — how was it between then and now? “How about later in USSR history?” I asked. “Well,” he said slowly in a quiet voice, “When Stalin was premier, he did not run the Soviet Union, the KGB did, and the Jews ran the KGB.” Well, I thought, I guess that is an answer.
He also told me about the Soviet executions. “In its history the Soviet government executed 50 million people,” he said. “In fact, during World War 2 alone they executed 18 million. If anyone supported Germany, they killed them. If they thought someone might support Germany in the future, they killed them, and if they thought someone might think of supporting Germany in the future, they killed them, 18 million total.”
He also told us about the famous “shoe event” with his father in 1960. The TV networks showed us Nikita Khrushchev banging his shoe on his desk and shouting. The networks said this was at the UN. Sergei said his father did do that, but it was at some other meeting.
Later I talked to Sergei’s son Nikita II who was a Moscow News employee, and I asked him the same questions. Emphatically, he repeated that the Jews were 15 of 18 in the first commissar group. When asked about Jews in the current Russian government, he was hesitant. “No, 50% is too high. Currently only about one third of the Russian government is Jewish,” he said.
Sergei was a rocket engineer in the USSR. He and his wife moved to the US in 1991 and became citizens. He died of a gunshot wound to the head in 2020, with no sign of foul play. That sounds like a suicide. Nikita II died of a stroke in 2007.
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