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You have a nice, long sleep, old man. I'll take it from here.
~ Beria plots to control the USSR.

Lavrentiy Pavlovich Beria is the main antagonist of the 2017 historical black comedy film The Death of Stalin. He was the corrupt head of the NKVD and used his position of power to commit several horrendous crimes. Beria attempted to control the Soviet Union after Joseph Stalin's death through Georgy Malenkov but would ultimately be brought down by Nikita Khrushchev. He was based on the real Lavrentiy Beria.

He was portrayed by Simon Russell Beale.

What Makes Him Pure Evil?

  • It's at least implied that Beria committed several of the same murderous crimes he did in real life, before the events of the film, such as the cultural genocide of Ukrainian Tatars and suppression of the August Uprising.
  • Beria's hobby is kidnapping, abusing, and raping women and girls as young as seven years old. He would have his NKVD officers bring him victims or select them off the streets himself. At least three of his victims are seen on-screen, two being middle-aged and the other still in adolescence.
    • At his trial, as Khrushchev reads his sentence, Beria is charged with 347 counts of rape.
  • Beria oversees multiple executions and arrests by the NKVD. Although they were ordered by Joseph Stalin (the targets were proclaimed the "Enemies of Stalin"), Beria writes the lists and orders the NKVD officers to carry out the murders and even instructs them to kill some in specific ways, such as:
    • Executing a married couple, killing the wife first and making sure her husband sees it.
    • Killing an Orthodox priest and removing him from his home to throw his body over his church's pulpit.
  • Beria also abuses and tortures many of the prisoners to extract information from them, but also because he enjoys it.
  • When Stalin suffers a cerebral hemorrhage and collapses, Beria is the first to arrive at his dacha and begins to plot his subtle takeover of the Soviet Union, stealing confidential documents on his fellow Central Committee members. He also discovers a note from pianist Maria Yudina, wishing Stalin dead.
  • After it's announced that Stalin will not recover, Beria closes off Moscow and replaces the Red Army officers stationed around the city with the NKVD, ensuring he has control of the city. He also implements new enemy lists in place of Stalin's, which exclude Vyacheslav Molotov who was previously targeted by Stalin.
    • Beria spares Molotov in order to make an ally of him to further reinforce his power, doing so by freeing his wife.
  • Exploiting Malenkov's weakness and indecisiveness, Beria manipulates him into making decisions that will increase the former's popularity with the people after Malenkov assumes control of the Soviet Union, such as freezing executions and arrests and releasing the prisoners.
  • Beria uses Yudina's note to Stalin to tie Khrushchev to her, with the end goal in mind being Khrushchev's execution.
  • After Khrushchev reopens Moscow, undermining Beria, the NKVD opened fire on the crowd and killed 1,500 civilians, the Committee decides to blame the entire thing on the NKVD, and Beria, feeling threatened, attempts to blackmail the Committee with their past misdeeds that are recorded on the documents he procured from Stalin's dacha.

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