Kirkhenshtein, Avgust Martynovich
(Augustus Kirchenstein). Born Sept. 6 (18), 1872, in Mazsalaca, in present-day Valmiera Raion, Latvian SSR; died Nov. 3, 1963, in Riga. Soviet statesman and microbiologist, academician of the Academy of Sciences of the Latvian SSR (1946) and Hero of Socialist Labor (1957). Member of the CPSU (1941).
Kirkhenshtein was the son of a peasant. He graduated from the Iur’ev Veterinary Institute in 1902. In 1905 he was subjected to repression for his revolutionary activities; he emigrated the same year. In 1917, Kirkhenshtein returned to Latvia and participated in the revolutionary movement. He engaged in scientific and pedagogical activities, becoming one of the organizers of the Latvian University and Academy of Agriculture. In 1923 he became a professor in the subdepartment of microbiology at the Latvian University. In 1940 he became prime minister of the popular government and president of Latvia.
After the establishment of Soviet power, Kirkhenshtein became chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the Latvian SSR (1940–52) and deputy chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR (1941 -52); simultaneously, he was director of the Institute of Microbiology of the Academy of Sciences of the Latvian SSR (beginning in 1946). From 1951 to 1958 he was vice-president of the Academy of Sciences of the Latvian SSR. His principal works were in microbiology and vitaminology. Kirkhenstein was awarded six Orders of Lenin, four other orders, and medals.