Lazar Kaganovich was born in Kabany, Ukraine in 1893 into a Jewish family. He worked as a shoemaker and joined the Bolshevik Party in 1911. He took part in the October Revolution, and by the 1920s was leader of the party in the Ukraine.
With the support of Stalin, Kaganovich was a member of the Politburo by 1930. He implemented the plans for collectivisation and destruction of the Christian Religion in Ukraine by confiscating food from the peasants. This caused a devastating famine in which between seven and thirteen million people died. This famine became known as the "Holodomor". The Soviet government covered up the tragedy by falsifying census statistics and forbidding any mention in the press. In December 1931, he ordered the Cathedral of Christ the Savior to be destroyed. This Cathedral was a great symbol of Russian Christianity. He was also involved in the great purges which ended all opposition to Stalin.When Stalin died, Kaganovich opposed his successor Nikita Kruschev. As a result, he was expelled from the Communist Party and forced into early retirement. A relative described his last moments as follows:
"He died in July 1991. The television set was broadcasting the latest news of perestroika, showing Gorbachev and Yeltsin. The maid heard him say, 'It's a catastrophe.' When she looked around, he was sitting in front of the television set dead."
- Edvard Radzinsky, "Stalin: The first In-Depth Biography Based on Explosive New Documents from Russia's Secret Archives," page 582.