List of leaders of the Soviet Union

From Academic Kids

An approximately chronological listing of Soviet leaders (heads of the Central Committee of the Communist Party and President of the Soviet Union).

The formal structure of power in the Soviet Union consisted of three main branches that gave rise to three top positions.

The first position of importance was that of the Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet, informally translated as President of the Soviet Union. Theoretically it was the highest position, since the Supreme Soviet was an interim organ of the Congress of Soviets, the latter being the supreme power of people, according to the Constitution of the Soviet Union.

The 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.

In practice, the leader of the Communist Party used to occupy another position, which led to confusion in the West as to what is the number one person in the USSR: Lenin, Stalin, Malenkov and Khrushchev preferred the post of the premier, while Brezhnev and the successors preferred that of the president.

Soviet leaders
Name Title Period
Vladimir Lenin Chairman of the Council of People's Commissars*. Informally, leader of the Bolsheviks since the very beginning. October 26, 1917 - January 21, 1924
Joseph Stalin General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union April 3, 1922 - March 5, 1953
Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the USSR May 6, 1941 - March 5, 1953
Georgy Malenkov Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union July 1, 1948 - March 14, 1953
Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the USSR March 5, 1953 - February 8, 1955
Nikita Khrushchev First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union September 7, 1953 - October 14, 1964
Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the USSR March 27, 1958 - October 14, 1964
Leonid Brezhnev First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union October 14, 1964 - April 8, 1966
General Secretary April 8, 1966 - November 10, 1982
Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR June 16, 1977 - November 10, 1982
Yuri Andropov General Secretary November 12, 1982 - February 9, 1984
Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR June 16, 1983 - February 9, 1984
Konstantin Chernenko General Secretary February 13, 1984 - March 10, 1985
Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR April 11, 1984 - March 10, 1985
Mikhail Gorbachev General Secretary March 11, 1985 - August 24, 1991
Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR May 25, 1989** - March 15, 1990
President of the Soviet Union March 14, 1990 - December 25, 1991

(*)The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was only created in 1922. From 1918 to 1922 its tentative predecessor was the Russian Socialist Federated Soviet Republic (the RSFSR continued after 1922 as one of 15 republics in the USSR). From the February Revolution in 1917 the state was the Russian Republic though it was often referred to as Soviet Russia after the October Revolution in 1917 when the Council of People's Commissars was formed. (**)Date of election to the new position of Chairman of the Supreme Soviet;had been Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet since late 1988.

The post of General Secretary was created in April 1922 but did not come to signify the party leader or leader of the country until after Stalin won the struggle with Trotsky to succeed Lenin. The title was First Secretary between 1952 and April 1966. The "Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet" was the equivalent of President of the state while "Chairman of the Council of Ministers" and "Chairman of the Council of People's Commissars" were equivalent to Premier or Prime Minister.

On March 14 1990, the newly created (1989) Congress of People's Deputies voted to end the Communist party's control over the government and elected Gorbachev President of the Soviet Union.

Leaders of post-Soviet independent states

For details of the leaders of the 15 independent states that replaced the Soviet Union, see the following articles:

Related articles

External links

de:Vorlage:Zeitleiste Fhrer der Sowjetunion es:Lista de gobernantes de la Unin Sovitica it:Capi di stato dell'Unione Sovietica ja:ソビエト連邦の指導者の一覧 pl:Przywdcy ZSRR ru:Список руководителей Советского Союза sk:Zoznam predstaviteľov Sovietskeho zväzu

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