1) wikipedia is garbage
2) Has anyone read Zhukov's original, untampered memoirs? Because I own an original copy. Zhukov was against Khruschev's anti-Stalin campaign, for which he, among others was removed from his post and forcibly retired.
>a Conspiracy theory constructed by Ultra's like Mao
1) That's not what an Ultra is
2) the evidence undeniably exists
Stalin by the end of his life had grown distrustful of his closest comrades - Beria, Malenkov, Bulganin, Kruschev, and Molotov and Stalin planned to replace them.
In October 16, 1952, Stalin said to the Presidium:
“We have freed from the obligations minister Molotov, Kaganovich, Voroshilov, and others and replaced them with new workers. Why? On what basis? The work of a minister- is the work of a young man! It requires much strength, concrete knowledge and health. This is why we freed some of our excellent comrades from their posts and replaced them with new, more qualified, initiated workers. They are young people, full of strength and energy.”
After Stalin's death, these old faces all came back to power, some of the being dropped off later on in the power struggle.
The man who he wanted to be his successor at first was Nikolai Voznesensky, a highly educated Leningrad economist, responsible for restoring conditions of the liberated Soviet territory after the Germans were pushed back. Also wrote a huge book about the Soviet economy in WW2, winning a Stalin prize for his work. This drew the attention of Stalin, who openly called him his successor, but this was a big mistake, as in 1950, The Malenkov-Kruschev-Bulganin gang (Beria may have also been part, but his son denies it) fabricated a case and killed him on trumped up charges in the infamous "Leningrad affair". Stalin wrote on the case, "I do not believe it!", but Malenkov convinced him that it was true. Stalin was very sick at the time and could not offer much resistance. Then, according to Anatoly Lukjanov, a Soviet politician during the time, Stalin wanted to name Ponomarenko as his successor, because of his honesty and organizational ability. He prepared a Presidium on the subject, but died 1 day before it was scheduled. The documents where Ponomarenko was named as Stalin's suggested successor were destroyed by Kruschev. Ponomarenko himself was demoted to increasingly insignificant posts, such as ambassador to Nepal.
“The decision to murder Comrade Stalin was taken simultaneously with the decision to murder Comrade Kirov. With this aim in mind, the center organized a number of strictly conspiratorial, terroristic groups in Moscow. In order to unify the activities of these groups, the All-Union Trotskyist-Zinovievist center created the Moscow center comprising Bakaev, Reingold, and Pikel (Zinovievist) and Mrachkovsky and Dreitzer (Trotskyist). The immediate organization of the murder of Comrade Stalin was entrusted to Bakaev. At the investigation, Bakaev confessed his role as the direct organizer of terroristic acts….
From abroad, Trotsky who was directing the activities of the All-Union united Trotskyist-Zinovievist center, has used every means at his disposal, especially after the arrest of Kamenev and Zinoviev, to speed up the murder of comrades Stalin and Voroshilov. He has been systematically sending directives and practical instructions through his agents concerning the organizing of the murder.
Dreitzer, a man close to Trotsky, formerly serving as his bodyguard, a member of the Trotskyist-Zinovievist bloc, confessed at his investigation that in 1934 he had received a written directive from Trotsky regarding the preparation of a terroristic act against Comrades Stalin and Voroshilov.
He reported the following:
“I received this directive through Stalovitskaya, my sister, a permanent resident of Warsaw, who traveled to Moscow at the end of September 1934.
“The contents of Trotsky’s letter were brief. It began with the following words:
“My dear friend! Please pass on the information that the following main tasks are on the next day’s agenda:
“First task: the removal of Stalin and Voroshilov.
Second task: the organization of cells in the Army.
Third task: in case of war, to make use of confusion and failure of every sort in order to seize power.”
(Dreitzer. Minutes of the interrogation of July 23rd, 1936)” - Getty & Naumov, The Road to Terror. New Haven, Conn.: Yale Univ. Press, c1999, p. 253