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In 1949, the KKE leadership and the remnants of the Democratic Army fled into exile in the communist states of the Eastern bloc. Zachariadis' tough leadership of the KKE, his harsh treatment of dissenters, and his insistance on keeping units of the Democratic Army on a war footing, provoked serious rioting among exiled Greek communists in Tashkent in [].
Following Nikita Khruschev's calls for de-Stalinisation and the intervention of other communist parties, in [[May]] [], the 6th General Assembly of KKE removed Zachariadis from the post of general secretary, and in [[February]] [] he was expelled from the party. He spent the rest of his life in exile in Siberia, initially in Yakutia and later in Surgut, where he comitted suicide