Khrushchev, Nikita Sergeievich

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Khrushchev, Nikita Sergeievich (1894–1971) Soviet politician, first secretary of the Communist Party (1953–64) and prime minister (1958–64). Noted for economic success and ruthless suppression of opposition in Ukraine, he was elected to the Politburo in 1939. After Stalin died, he made a speech denouncing him (1956). Favoring détente, he yielded to President John Kennedy in the Cuban Missile Crisis (1962). Economic setbacks and trouble with China led to his replacement by Leonid Brezhnev and Aleksei Kosygin in 1964.