During the 20th Party Congress, Nikita Khrushchev openly attacked Stalin’s leadership of the Soviet Union. It was seen both inside and outside the Soviet Union as the beginning of a new era. This proved to be a particularly bloody assumption for Nagy’s Hungary. Khrushchev had no intention of “liberalizing” Soviet domination of Eastern Europe, even if he was trying to bring an end to the cult of personality that had characterized internal Soviet government.
Time: Early War
Removed after event: Yes
This is probably the most important Early War card in the deck. Without De-Stalinization, it will be very difficult to contest the Americas. As such, no matter how tempting, I almost always try to use all of the influence from De-Stalinization into a Mid War region. Occasionally I will put one into Thailand, if I need immediate access to it, but the card is best for fighting for the Mid War regions.
I also rarely headline this card, because it is a very risky card to have Defectored. Moreover, you have to play this at DEFCON 2, so that the US doesn’t just coup out your influence immediately.
If you have Decolonization, then De-Stalinization is an easy choice: all four into the four South American battlegrounds. If you don’t have Decolonization, I will tend to put a couple into Africa (perhaps Angola and Algeria), and the other two into South America (one in Venezuela and one in Argentina or Chile). I don’t usually place it into Central America, because I can coup Panama, Fidel grants me Cuba, and Mexico is too easily realigned out. More importantly, De-Stalinization into South America gives me more access than De-Stalinization into Central America.
Remember that The Voice of America is the perfect antidote to De-Stalinization, so be sure to fortify your position by the Mid War so that VoA cannot just remove all of your influence.
Like Decolonization, this is a hold-until-Turn-3 card. Whether or not the USSR triggers this can be game-deciding, so spacing it on Turn 3 earns you a massive advantage. By Turn 7, this card is mostly useless, and can be safely played for Operations. But I would rather give up West Germany to a Blockade than play this in the Early War.
In many ways, De-Stalinization is like Puppet Governments, with the key difference being that it is guaranteed to be drawn by Turn 3, when it still matters.