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==Khrushchev’s forced removal from office==
250px|Khrushchev, Valentina Tereshkova, Pavel Popovichm and Yury Gagarin in 1963]]
Khrushchev’s rivals in the Communist party deposed him largely due to his erratic and cantankerous behavior, regarded by the party as a tremendous embarrassment on the international stage. The failures in agriculture, the quarrel with China, and the humiliating resolution of the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, added to growing resentment of Khrushchev’s own arbitrary administrative methods, were the major factors in his downfall. On October 14, 1964, after a palace coup orchestrated by his “loyal” protégé and deputy, Leonid Brezhnev, the Central Committee forced Khrushchev to retire from his position as the party’s first secretary and Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Soviet Union because of his “advanced age and poor health”. The Communist Party subsequently accused Khrushchev of making political mistakes, such as mishandling the Cuban Missile Crisis and disorganizing the Soviet economy, especially in the agricultural sector. However, Khrushchev considered his own forced retirement a major breakthrough and successful achievement. He was not to oppose, there were no executions and his retirement was “negotiated” as between equals.<ref>Khrushchev’s last days in power - http://www.nytimes.com/1988/10/23/world/son-tells-of-khrushchev-s-last-days-in-power.html?pagewanted=all</ref> Following his ousting, Khrushchev spent seven years under house arrest. He died at his home in Moscow on September 11, 1971.
Despite all, for the Soviet Union and indeed for the entire world communist movement, Nikita Khrushchev was the great catalyst of political and social change. In his seven years of power as first secretary and premier, he broke both the fact and the tradition of the Stalin dictatorship and established a basis for liberalizing tendencies within Soviet communism. His experience with international realities confirmed him in his doctrine of peaceful co-existence with the noncommunist world – in itself a drastic break with established Soviet communist teaching. He publicly recognized the limitations as well as the power of nuclear weapons, and his decision to negotiate with the United States for some form of nuclear-testing control was of vast importance. Despite his repression of the Hungarian uprising in 1956, his acceptance of “different roads to socialism” led to growing independence among European communist parties, but his Russian nationalism and his suspicion of Mao Zedong’s communism helped create an unexpectedly deep gap between China and the Soviet Union. By the time he was removed from office, he had set up guidelines for and limitations to Soviet policy that his successors were hard put to alter.