Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev gave a speech that was vehemently critical of the dictatorship of the late Premier Joseph Stalin. Entitled "On the Cult of Personality and Its Consequences" Khrushchev spoke at the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and railed against the legacy of Stalin, in particular the great purges he decreed, and his cultivation of a leadership based on personality cult, despite supporting communist ideals. It created an uproar and shock among the audience, ending with thunderous applause. Here are excerpts of his speech: " .......After Stalin’s death, the Central Committee began to implement a policy of explaining concisely and consistently that it is impermissible and foreign to the spirit of Marxism-Leninism to elevate one person, to transform him into a superman possessing supernatural characteristics, akin to those of a god. Such a man supposedly knows everything, sees everything, thinks for everyone, can do anything, is infallible in his behavior.........Because not all as yet realize fully the practical consequences resulting from the cult of the individual, [or] the great harm caused by violation of the principle of collective Party direction and by the accumulation of immense and limitless power in the hands of one person, the Central Committee considers it absolutely necessary to make material pertaining to this matter available to the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union......the classics of Marxism-Leninism denounced every manifestation of the cult of the individual.......Facts prove that many abuses were made on Stalin’s orders without reckoning with any norms of Party and Soviet legality. Stalin was a very distrustful man, sickly suspicious. We know this from our work with him. He could look at a man and say: “Why are your eyes so shifty today?” or “Why are you turning so much today and avoiding to look me directly in the eyes?” The sickly suspicion created in him a general distrust even toward eminent Party workers whom he had known for years. Everywhere and in everything he saw “enemies,” “two-facers” and “spies.” Possessing unlimited power, he indulged in great willfulness and stifled people morally as well as physically. A situation was created where one could not express one’s own volition........When Stalin said that one or another should be arrested, it was necessary to accept on faith that he was an “enemy of the people.” Meanwhile, Beria’s gang, which ran the organs of state security, outdid itself in proving the guilt of the arrested and the truth of materials which it falsified. And what proofs were offered? The confessions of the arrested, and the investigative judges accepted these “confessions.” And how is it possible that a person confesses to crimes which he has not committed? Only in one way –because of the application of physical methods of pressuring him, tortures, bringing him to a state of unconsciousness, deprivation of his judgment, taking away of his human dignity. In this manner were “confessions” acquired......"
(Source: Speech to 20th Congress of the C.P.S.U. February 24, 1956 https://www.marxists.org/archive/khrushchev/1956/02/24.htm
A meeting of defence and foreign ministers of the Warsaw Pact met in Hungary, and declared that the Warsaw Pact would be disbanded after 36 years of military alliance between the USSR and its satellite states. Its formal dissolution was declared by President Vaclav Havel, the Czechoslovak President, on July 1st, 1991, in Prague. Five months later, in December, the USSR disestablished itself.