In August 1945 the Soviet Union concluded a treaty of friendship and alliance with the Republic of China’s Kuomintang (KMT) government, granting it economic concessions and defense facilities, as previously agreed upon by the wartime Allies. Although the Soviets promised to respect KMT sovereignty in Manchuria, they stripped the region of nearly all of its industrial machinery, resisted efforts by the Chinese government to reestablish its authority, and gave arms taken from captured Japanese soldiers to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), the KMT’s adversary in a civil war. When Soviet troops withdrew, all Manchuria fell to the CCP. The subsequent victory of the Chinese Communists over the KMT in 1949 altered the balance of power in Asia to the momentary advantage of the Soviet Union.
Stalin, although increasingly erratic and paranoid as he grew old, remained in control until his death in March 1953. A collective leadership took power after his death. It was headed briefly by Georgy Malenkov, who was chosen CPSU first secretary and premier of the government. Other key figures included Molotov (reinstated as foreign minister), Beria (minister of internal affairs), Nikita Khrushchev (party secretary), Kaganovich and Nikolay Bulganin (first deputy premiers), and Kliment Voroshilov (ceremonial head of state).
The ruling group soon fell out among themselves. Malenkov lasted as chief organizer of the party for only one week and was eclipsed there by Khrushchev, whose title was elevated to CPSU first secretary in September 1953. The ambitious Beria was arrested in June and denounced for “criminal and antiparty activities”; in December 1953 the Kremlin announced he had been tried for treason, found guilty, and shot. Malenkov was demoted in February 1955 and replaced as head of government by Bulganin, a confederate of Khrushchev. "USSR" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia.
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