Aleksei Kosygin

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Kosygin, Aleksei Nikolaevich


Born Feb. 8 (21), 1904, in St. Petersburg. Communist Party figure and Soviet statesman. Member of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the CPSU. Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the USSR. Member of the Communist Party since 1927.

The son of a lathe operator, Kosygin joined the Red Army as a volunteer at age 15 and served from 1919 to 1921. After demobilization (1921) he studied at the Leningrad Cooperative Technicum, graduating in 1924. Subsequently, he worked for six years in the Siberian system of consumers’ cooperatives. In 1930 he enrolled in the S. M. Kirov Leningrad Textile Institute, from which he graduated five years later. After completing the course of study at the institute, he worked as a foreman and later, as a shop superintendent at the A. I. Zheliabov Textile Factory in Leningrad. In 1937 he was appointed director of the Oktiabr’-skaia Spinning and Weaving Factory. He served as chief of the industry and transportation department of the Leningrad Oblast Committee of the ACP (Bolshevik) in 1938, and in the same year he was elected chairman of the Executive Committee of the Leningrad Soviet of Working People’s Deputies. In January 1939 he was appointed people’s commissar for the textile industry of the USSR.

Kosygin was deputy chairman of the Council of People’s Commissars of the USSR from 1940 to 1946. Between 1943 and 1946 he was also chairman of the Council of People’s Commissars of the RSFSR.

During the Great Patriotic War (1941–45) Kosygin did a great deal of work to restructure the national economy to meet the country’s defense needs. As deputy chairman of the Council of People’s Commissars of the USSR and deputy chairman of the Council for Evacuation, he carried out in 1941 and 1942 important state assignments for the transfer of people, industrial enterprises, and material resources from the country’s front regions and for the rapid reestablishment of evacuated factories and plants in new localities.

From January through July 1942 he was in besieged Leningrad as a representative of the State Defense Committee. He did important work to ensure that the city would have supplies, and he also participated in the work of local soviet and party bodies and in the Military Council of the Leningrad Front.

After the transformation of the Council of People’s Commissars of the USSR into the Council of Ministers of the USSR, Kosygin occupied a number of ministerial positions. From 1946 through March 1953 he was deputy chairman of the Council of Ministers. In 1948 he also held the post of minister of finances, and between 1949 and 1953 he was minister of light industry. With the transformation and amalgamation of Soviet ministries in 1953, he became minister of light industry and of the food industry of the USSR. Later, after the reorganization of this ministry, he headed the Ministry of Industrial Consumer Goods of the USSR (until February 1954). In December 1953 he was appointed deputy chairman of the Council of Ministers of the USSR.

From February 1954 through December 1956, Kosygin’s basic activities were related to his position as deputy chairman of the Council of Ministers of the USSR. In December 1956 he was appointed a minister of the USSR and first deputy chairman of the State Economic Commission of the Council of Ministers of the USSR, which is responsible for current economic planning. Subsequently, he served from May through July 1957 as first deputy chairman of Gosplan (State Planning Commission of the USSR). In July 1957 he became deputy chairman of the Council of Ministers of the USSR, and from 1959 to 1960 he served simultaneously as chairman of Gosplan. He was appointed first deputy chairman of the Council of Ministers of the USSR in 1960 and chairman of the Council of Ministers in October 1964. A delegate to the Eighteenth through the Twenty-fifth Party Congresses, Kosygin has been a member of the Central Committee of the CPSU since 1939.

From 1946 to 1948, Kosygin was a candidate member of the Politburo and from 1948 to 1952, a member of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the ACP (Bolshevik). He was a candidate member of the Presidium of the Central Committee from 1952 to 1953 and from 1957 to 1960 and a member of the Presidium of the Central Committee from 1960 to 1966. Since 1966 he has been a member of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the CPSU.

As a member of the collective leadership of the CPSU, Kosygin participates directly in the development and implementation of the party’s political course and of its decisions on strengthening the political, economic, and defense might of the USSR, as well as its international positions. At the September (1965) Plenum of the Central Committee of the CPSU he delivered an address on improving industrial management, perfecting planning, and strengthening economic incentives for industrial production.

At the Twenty-third (1966) and Twenty-fourth (1971) Congresses of the CPSU, Kosygin reported on the directives for the five-year economic development plans for the USSR for the periods 1966–70 and 1971–75. At the Twenty-fifth Congress of the CPSU, Kosygin presented the report Guidelines for the Development of the National Economy of the USSR for 1976–80.

Kosygin plays an active role in implementing the Leninist foreign policy of the Soviet Union. On numerous occasions he has represented his country at international conferences and meetings, and he has headed Soviet party-government delegations to many foreign states.

He has been a deputy to the second through ninth convocations of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR.

For important services rendered to the Communist party and the Soviet state in Communist construction, A. N. Kosygin was awarded the title of Hero of Socialist Labor in 1964 and 1974. He has received six Orders of Lenin, the Order of the Red Banner, and various medals.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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