Waiting for the American Khrushchev: Who will deliver the "Cult of Personality" speech to Americans?

In this powerful personal essay, Institute for the Future executive director Marina Gorbis writes about growing up in a Soviet Union brainwashed by Stalin's Big Lie, and what it took to break the lie.


A few years after his death, Stalin's Big Lie was revealed to be just that by none other than one of his former enablers — Nikita Khrushchev who delivered the famous "On the Cult of Personality and Its Consequences" speech at a closed meeting of the 20th Congress of the Soviet Union in 1956. The speech was quickly leaked outside of the inner party ranks and ushered in a period of reforms, with accounts of purges, killings, and horrific conditions in Soviet gulags gradually becoming public. According to some sources, when Khrushchev revealed the truth about Stalin's reign of terror, some of the ardent Big Lie believers suffered heart attacks, a few committed suicides, and some refused to acknowledge the truth. With Khrushchev initiating widespread rehabilitations of former enemies of the people and many of the exiles returning to their homes from labor camps in Siberia, truth, however, was increasingly difficult to deny. Stalin turned from a hero to a villain in the eyes of most Soviet citizens.

We need an American Khrushchev to deliver a Cult of Personality speech to break the spell of Trump's Big Lie. Who could do it?

(I'm on staff at Institute for the Future)