Beria, Lavrentii Pavlovich (1899-1953)

Soviet party and government leader and one of the chief organizers of the mass repressions of the Stalin era. Born in Georgia, Beria joined the Communist Party in 1917 and graduated in 1919 from a secondary school of mechanics and construction. From 1921 to1931 he worked in intelligence and counterintelligence agencies in the Caucasus. Beginning in 1931, he was First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Georgia.

From 1938 to 1948 and from March to June of 1953, Beria was Narcom of Internal Affairs of the USSR. Simultaneously, he was deputy Chairman of Sovnarcom of the USSR from 1941 to 1946. Beginning in 1946, he was Chairman and, from March to June of 1953, first Deputy Chairman of the Council of Ministers. In June 1953, Beria was arrested on charges of conspiracy to seize government power. He was executed later that year.