Nikita S. Khrushchev During Liberation of Kiev

Zampolit (Political Officer) Nikita S. Khrushchev (April 17, 1894 - September 11, 1971) greets a man on the Khreshchatyk (Cross Street, the main thoroughfare) through newly liberated Kiev, Ukraine, on November 7, 1943. He is wearing the uniform of a Major General. Soviet Premier Josef Stalin (December 18, 1878 - March 5, 1953) ordered that Kiev be taken in honor of the twenty-sixth anniversary of the Revolution. The 1st Ukrainian Front crossed the Dneipr River at 0200 Hours and attacked the 4th Panzer Army. Both sides suffered heavy casualties, and fighting would continue through December. Marshal Georgi Zhukov (December 1, 1896 - June 18, 1974) led American-made Lend-Lease jeeps into Kiev the next day. Khrushchev was in the second jeep. The Red Army was greeted with the thin rations the population had lived on during the German occupation. Khrushchev, who had a high ranking position in the Ukraine before the Red Army collapsed in Summer 1941, wrote, "I can't express the emotion which overwhelmed me as I drove along the road to Kiev. It was an old familiar one we used to take to and from our dascha (summer home) before the war. We passed through the suburbs and came to the Khreshchatyk...across from the Central Department Store, I greeted a short, bearded old man who threw himself on my shoulder and kissed me on both cheeks. I was very touched." Later Khrushchev was photographed embracing a crying woman. He also had tears in his eyes. Despite the welcome, Khrushchev was instrumental in carrying out Stalin's reprisals. Thousands of Ukrainians were deported to gulags or executed for collaboration with the Germans. Khrushchev privately complained to Stalin about the executions and deportations but did not press the matter. He focused on rebuilding the war-torn Ukraine.
Caption Written By: 
Jason McDonald
Date Photographed: 
Sunday, November 7, 1943
Soviet Union