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Leaders of the Soviet Union

Also: USSR (1922-1991)

An approximately chronological listing of Soviet leaders (heads of the Central Committee of the Communist Party and President of the Soviet Union). The formal head of the government was the Premier of the Soviet Union. This was the most important position in Lenin's time. After Lenin's death the most important position ultimately became the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union who headed the Politburo.

Top leaders of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (1922-1991)

Chairman of the Council of People's Commissars (Informally, Leader of the Bolsheviks since the very beginning) Vladimir Ilyich Lenin 26 Oct 1917 - 21 Jan 1924 (+) General Secretary of the Central Committee Iosif Vissaryonovich Stalin 3 Apr 1922 - 5 Mar 1953 (+) First Secretaries of the Central Committee Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev 7 Sep 1953 - 14 Oct 1964 (+1971) Leonid Ilyich Brezhnev 14 Oct 1964 - 8 Apr 1966 (+1982) General Secretaries of the Central Committee Leonid Ilyich Brezhnev 8 Apr 1966 - 10 Nov 1982 (+) Yuriy Vladimirovich Andropov 12 Nov 1982 - 9 Feb 1984 (+) Konstantin Ustinovich Chernenko 13 Feb 1984 - 10 Mar 1985 (+) Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev 11 Mar 1985 - 24 Aug 1991

Heads of State

Chairmen of the Central Executive Committe of the All-Russian Congress of Soviets Lev Borisovich Kamenev 9 Nov 1917 - 21 Nov 1917 (+1936, executed) Yakov Mikhaylovich Sverdlov 21 Nov 1917 - 16 Mar 1919 (+) Mikhail Fyodorovich Vladimirsky 16 Mar 1919 - 30 Mar 1919 (+1951) (acting) Mikhail Ivanovich Kalinin 30 Mar 1919 - 19 Jul 1938 (+1946) Chairman of the Central Executive Committee of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics Mikhail Ivanovich Kalinin 30 Dec 1922 - 12 Jan 1938 (+1946) Chairmen of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet Mikhail Ivanovich Kalinin 17 Jan 1938 - 19 Mar 1946 (+1946) Nikolay Mikhaylovich Shvernik 19 Mar 1946 - 6 Mar 1953 (+1970) Kliment Yefremovich Voroshilov 15 Mar 1953 - 7 May 1960 (+1969) Leonid Ilyich Brezhnev 7 May 1960 - 15 Jul 1964 (+1982) Anastas Ivanovich Mikoyan 15 Jul 1964 - 9 Dec 1965 (+1978) Nikolay Viktorovich Podgorniy 9 Dec 1965 - 16 Jun 1977 (+1983) Leonid Ilyich Brezhnev 16 Jun 1977 - 10 Nov 1982 (+) Vasiliy Vasilyevich Kuznetsov 10 Nov 1982 - 16 Jun 1983 (+1990) (acting, as 1st deputy) Yuriy Vladimirovich Andropov 16 Jun 1983 - 9 Feb 1984 (+) Vasiliy Vasilyevich Kuznetsov 9 Feb 1984 - 11 Apr 1984 (+1990) (acting, as 1st deputy) Konstantin Ustinovich Chernenko 11 Apr 1984 - 10 Mar 1985 (+) Vasiliy Vasilyevich Kuznetsov 10 Mar 1985 - 27 Jul 1985 (+1990) (acting, as 1st deputy) Andrey Andreyevich Gromyko 27 Jul 1985 - 1 Oct 1988 (+1989) Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev 1 Oct 1988 - 25 May 1989 Chairman of the Supreme Soviet Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev 25 May 1989 - 15 Mar 1990 President of the USSR Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev 15 Mar 1990 - 25 Dec 1991

Heads of Government

Chairmen of the Council of People's Commissars Vladimir Ilyich Lenin 8 Nov 1917 - 21 Jan 1924 (+) Aleksey Ivanovich Rykov 23 Jan 1924 - 19 Dec 1930 (+1938, executed) Vyacheslav Mikhaylovich Molotov 19 Dec 1930 - 6 May 1941 (+1986) Iosif Vissaryonovich Stalin 6 May 1941 - 15 Mar 1946 (+) Chairmen of the Council of Ministers (Premiers) Iosif Vissaryonovich Stalin 19 Mar 1946 - 5 Mar 1953 (+) Georgiy Maksimilianovich Malenkov 5 Mar 1953 - 8 Feb 1955 (+1988) Nikolay Aleksandrovich Bulganin 8 Feb 1955 - 27 Mar 1958 (+1975) Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev 27 Mar 1958 - 15 Oct 1964 (+1971) Aleksey Nikolayevich Kosygin 15 Oct 1964 - 23 Oct 1980 (+1980) Nikolay Aleksandrovich Tikhonov 23 Oct 1980 - 27 Sep 1985 (+1997) Nikolay Ivanovich Ryzhkov 27 Sep 1985 - 14 Jan 1991 Prime Minister Valentin Sergeyevich Pavlov 14 Jan 1991 - 22 Aug 1991 (+2003) Chief of the Committee on Operative Management of the People's Economy Ivan Stepanovich Silayev 24 Aug 1991 - 14 Nov 1991 Chairman of the Interrepublican Economic Committee Ivan Stepanovich Silayev 20 Sep 1991 - 14 Nov 1991 Chairman of the Interstate Economic Committee Ivan Stepanovich Silayev 14 Nov 1991 - 26 Dec 1991

Ministers of Foreign Affairs

People's Commissars for Foreign Affairs Lev Davydovich Trotskiy 1917 - 1918 (+1940, assassinated) Georgiy Vasilyevich Chicherin 1918 - 21 Jul 1930 (+1936) Maksim Maksimovich Litvinov 21 Jul 1930 - 3 May 1939 (+1951) Vyacheslav Mikhaylovich Molotov 3 May 1939 - 15 Mar 1946 (+1986) Ministers of Foreign Affairs Vyacheslav Mikhaylovich Molotov 19 Mar 1946 - 4 Mar 1949 (+1986) Andrey Yanuaryevich Vyshinskiy 4 Mar 1949 - 5 Mar 1953 (+1954) Vyacheslav Mikhaylovich Molotov 5 Mar 1953 - 1 Jun 1956 (+1986) Dmitriy Trofimovich Shepilov 1 Jun 1956 - 15 Feb 1957 (+1995) Andrey Andreyevich Gromyko 15 Feb 1957 - 2 Jul 1985 (+1989) Eduard Amvrosiyevich Shevardnadze 2 Jul 1985 - 15 Jan 1991 (acting from 20 Dec 1990) Aleksandr Aleksandrovich Bessmertnykh 15 Jan 1991 - 23 Aug 1991 Boris Dmitriyevich Pankin 28 Aug 1991 - 14 Nov 1991 Minister of External Relations Eduard Amvrosiyevich Shevardnadze 19 Nov 1991 - 26 Dec 1991

Chairmen and directors of KGB and predecessors

All-Russian Extraordinary Commissary against the Counterrevolution and the Sabotage (Cheka) Feliks Edmundovich Dzerzhinksiy 1917 - 1922 (+1926) Main Political Department (State security, GPU) Feliks Edmundovich Dzerzhinksiy 1922 - 1923 (+1926) Joint Main Political Department (State Security, OGPU) Feliks Edmundovich Dzerzhinksiy 18 Sep 1923 - 20 Jul 1926 (+) Vyacheslav Rudolfovich Menzhinskiy 30 Jul 1926 - 10 May 1934 (+) Note: OGPU merged into NKVD 10 Jul 1934 People's Commissary for State Security (NKGB) Vsevolod Nikolayevich Merkulov 3 Feb 1941 - 20 Jul 1941 (+1953, executed) Note: NKGB merged with NKVD from 20 Jul 1941 to 14 Apr 1943 People's Commissary for State Security (NKGB) Vsevolod Nikolayevich Merkulov 14 Apr 1943 - 15 Mar 1946 (+1953, executed) Ministry of State Security (MGB) Vsevolod Nikolayevich Merkulov 19 Mar 1946 - 7 May 1946 (+1953, executed) Viktor Semyonovich Abakumov 7 May 1946 - 14 Jul 1951 (+1954, executed) Sergey Ogoltsov 14 Jul 1951 - 9 Aug 1951 (acting) Semyon Denisovich Ignatiyev 9 Aug 1951 - 5 Mar 1953 (+1983) Note: MGB merged into MVD 5 Mar 1953 Committee for State Security (KGB) Ivan Aleksandrovich Serov 13 Mar 1954 - 8 Dec 1958 (+1963, suicide) Aleksandr Nikolayevich Shelepin 25 Dec 1958 - 13 Nov 1961 (+1994) Vladimir Yefimovich Semichastniy 13 Nov 1961 - 18 May 1967 (+2001) Yuriy Vladimirovich Andropov 18 May 1967 - 26 May 1982 (+1984) Vitaliy Vasilyevich Fedorchuk 26 May 1982 - 17 Dec 1982 Viktor Mikhaylovich Chebrikov 17 Dec 1982 - 1 Oct 1988 (+1999) Vladimir Aleksandrovich Kryuchkov 1 Oct 1988 - 22 Aug 1991 Leonid Nikolayevich Shebarshin 22 Aug 1991 - 23 Aug 1991 (acting) Vadim Viktorovich Bakatin 23 Aug 1991 - 22 Oct 1991 (+) means deceased


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