Marxists Internet Archive: Nikos Zachariadis

Nikos Zachariadis (1903-1973)
Nikos Zachariadis smiling

General Secretary of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) from 1931 to 1956. He was appointed, by order of Stalin and the Comintern, General Secretary of KKE in 1935. He was arrested by the right-wing Metaxas dictatorship the following year. From prison, he lent his political influence to a united antifascist front following the Invasion of Italy's invasion of Greece on October 28, 1940. Despite his efforts to encourage unity and resistance in the face of fascist aggression, Zachariadis remained imprisoned and when the Nazis ultimately invaded and occupied Greece in 1941, Zachariadis was transferred to Dachau, where he remained until the camp was liberated by the US Army in May 1945.

at the front

Along with Markos Vafiadis, Zachariadis was an integral figure in the formation and operations of the KKE-led Democratic Army of Greece (DSE) during the Greek Civil War of 1946-1949. Following the collapse of the military effort in 1949, Zachariadis and other leaders of the DSE retreated to Tashkent, capital city of Uzbekestan SSR. He continued to receive support as the General Secretary of the "exterior" branch of KKE until the death of Joseph Stalin in 1953.


Zachariadis fell out of favor with the Tashkent branch of KKE in 1955 and, following some infighting, he was removed from his post — ostensibly with the support and approval of Nikita Khrushchev — by May of 1956. Zachariadis was expelled from KKE the following year. Some reports indicate Zachariadis lived in the Urals, holding a post as clerk of the Department of Waters and Forests in the years following his exile. Most accounts suggest spent the rest of his life in exile in Siberia, initially in Yakutia and later in Surgut, where — according to official KGB records — he committed suicide in 1973. His body was returned to Greece in 1991 following the fall of the Soviet Union.

Nikos Zachariadis Internet Archive