topics
EventsPeopleDocumentsLibraryActivitiesResourcesReferencestools  
 

people
Cold War Files: All Units: People: Aleksey Nikolayevich Kosygin

Aleksey Nikolayevich Kosygin
Aleksey Nikolayevich Kosygin
b. February 21, 1904 - d. December 18, 1980

Aleksey Nikolayevich Kosygin was a politician and administrator in the Soviet Union. Kosygin was Premier of the USSR from 1964 to 1980.

Kosygin joined the Red Army in 1919 at the age of 15 and fought in the Russian Civil War. Afterwards, he received his education at the Leningrad Co-operative College and then worked in Siberia joining the Communist Party in 1927. In the 1930s he attended the Leningrad Textile Institute after which he worked as an engineer rising to become managing director of the Oktyabrskaya textile factory in Leningrad.

Stalin's Great Purge caused a number of openings in the party administration allowing Kosygin to enter full time party work in 1938 first as head of the Leningrad party's industrial and transport department and then as mayor of Leningrad. In 1939 he joined the Soviet cabinet as People's Commissar for the textile industry. That same year, Kosygin was elected to the Central Committee of the Communist Party. From 1940 to 1946 he was deputy chairman of the Council of People's Commissars of the USSR with responsibility for consumer industries. He also served as Premier of the Russian SFSR from 1943 to 1946.

After World War II, Kosygin became a candidate member of the Politburo becoming a full member in 1948. He briefly served as minister of finance of the USSR in 1948 and then as minister for light industry until 1953.

Following the death of Stalin in March 1953 Kosygin was demoted but as a staunch ally of Nikita Khrushchev his career soon turned around. He became chairman of the USSR State Committee for Planning in 1959 and then a full member of the Presidium (as the Politburo was now called) in 1960. When Khruschev was dismissed as Soviet leader in October 1964, Kosygin took over Khrushchev's position as Soviet Premier in what initially was a troika with Leonid Brezhnev as General Secretary and Nikolay Podgorny as President.

Kosygin attempted to implement economic reforms to shift the emphasis in the Soviet economy from heavy industry and military production to light industry and the production of consumer goods. Brezhnev did not support this policy and stymied Kosygin's reforms. By the end of the decade Brezhnev had become the unquestioned leader of the USSR. While Kosygin retained his position as Premier and remained on the Politburo until 1980 his position became increasingly weak.

Kosygin fell ill and was dismissed from his positions in October 1980, mere weeks prior to his death.

footer navigation
Copyright 2005, Cold War International
History Project. All rights reserved.