Haile Mariam, Mengistu

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Haile Mariam, Mengistu


Born 1941 in Addis Ababa. Ethiopian political and military figure. Lieutenant colonel (1976).

Mengistu Haile Mariam entered military service in 1959. In 1969 and 1970 he was in the United States, where he completed training courses for ordnance officers and attended a course in industrial economics at the University of Maryland. From 1970 to 1974 he served at the headquarters of the 3rd Infantry Division. In 1974 he was chairman of the Coordinating Committee of the Armed Forces, Police, and Territorial Army—the leading body of the revolutionary movement to abolish the feudal-monarchical system in Ethiopia. After the monarchy was overthrown in September 1974, Mengistu Haile Mariam became first deputy chairman of the Provisional Military Administrative Council, which serves as the collegial head of state. In February 1977 he was elected chairman of the council and its governing bodies—the Central and Standing committees. Mengistu Haile Mariam, who became head of the Provisional Military Government in December 1976 and chairman of the Commission to Organize the Party of the Working People of Ethiopia in 1979, is also commander in chief of the armed forces.

Mengistu Haile Mariam has helped initiate a consistent program of radical social and economic reforms, including the nationalization of land, banks, and large industrial enterprises. These reforms have aided the development of the national democratic revolution in Ethiopia and the building of a socialist society.

Mengistu Haile Mariam was awarded the Order of the October Revolution in 1980.

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