politics, hypocrisy and meanness in public affairs, alligators, anti-empire-ism, occasional personal stuff

Thursday, March 03, 2011

The afternoon of October 15, 1964 - two serendipitous events:

Few Americans likely saw Nikita Khrushchev as a reformer or a liberal, but he was - he was the primary agent of change in the Soviet Union after Stalin's death in 1953. See how he saw his chief accomplishment, in his quotation below:

The conspirators, led by Brezhnev, Aleksandr Shelepin, and KGB Chairman Vladimir Semichastny, struck in October 1964, while Khrushchev was on vacation at Pitsunda, Abkhazia. On October 12, Brezhnev called Khrushchev to notify him of a special Presidium meeting to be held the following day, ostensibly on the subject of agriculture.[244] Even though Khrushchev suspected the real reason for the meeting,[245] he flew to Moscow to be attacked by Brezhnev and other Presidium members for his policy failures and what his colleagues deemed to be erratic behavior.[246] Khrushchev put up little resistance, and that night called his friend and Presidium colleague Anastas Mikoyan, and told him,
I'm old and tired. Let them cope by themselves. I've done the main thing. Could anyone have dreamed of telling Stalin that he didn't suit us anymore and suggesting he retire? Not even a wet spot would have remained where we had been standing. Now everything is different. The fear is gone, and we can talk as equals. That's my contribution. I won't put up a fight.[247]
On October 14, 1964, the Presidium and the Central Committee each voted to accept Khrushchev's "voluntary" retirement from his offices. Khrushchev's ouster was announced to the world the following day, and reached U.S. radio and television audiences in mid-afternoon - word traveled throughout Busch Stadium in the 6th inning of the Cardinals' 7th Game victory over the mighty Yankees, as Bob Gibson pitched a complete game on 2 days rest, to win the World Series. I remember the murmur that became a groundswell of amazement, as I sat in the 9th row between the Cardinals' dugout and home plate. 


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