Premier of the Soviet Union

Premier of the Soviet Union
Глава Правительства СССР
State Emblem of the Soviet Union.svg
Residence Kremlin Senate, Moscow
Formation 6 July 1923
First holder Vladimir Lenin
Final holder Ivan Silayev
Abolished 26 December 1991
Succession Prime Minister of the Russian Federation

The Premier of the Soviet Union (Russian: Глава Правительства СССР) was the head of government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). The office had three different names throughout its existence: Chairman of the Council of People's Commissars (1923–1946), Chairman of the Council of Ministers (1946–1991) and Prime Minister of the Soviet Union (1991). The term premier was used by outside commentators to describe the office of head of government.

The first Soviet government was established on 6 July 1923. The government was empowered to initiate decrees and legislation that were binding throughout the USSR.[1] After the ousting of Khrushchev in 1964, Kosygin was appointed head of government. However, Kosygin's prestige was weakened when he proposed the economic reform of 1965.[2] Upon Valentin Pavlov's ascension to the premiership, the Council of Ministers was abolished and replaced with the Cabinet of Ministers. After the failed August coup of 1991 and the revelation that the majority of the cabinet members endorsed the coup, the Cabinet of Ministers was dissolved and replaced by the Committee on the Operational Management of the Soviet economy in 1991. The government of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic began seizing Soviet ministries in the aftermath of the coup, and by December 1991 the Soviet government had lost control.[3]

Under the 1977 Soviet Constitution, the head of government was the leader of the highest executive and administrative organ of state. It functioned as the most influential office of government until the establishment of the Office of the President of the Soviet Union in 1990. The head of government was responsible and accountable to the Supreme Soviet (and it's Presidium).[4] The head of government was tasked with resolving all state administrative duties within the jurisdiction of the USSR to the degree which were not the responsibility of the Supreme Soviet or it's Presidium. The head of government managed the national economy, formulated the five-year plans and ensured socio-cultural development.[5]

Twelve individuals became head of government. Of these, two died in office of natural causes (Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin), three resigned (Alexei Kosygin, Nikolai Tikhonov and Ivan Silayev) and three held the offices of party secretary and head of government concurrently (Stalin and Nikita Khrushchev). Lenin was elected the first head of government on 6 July 1923 by a decision of the Central Executive Committee. Ivan Silayev spent the briefest time in office at 126 days. At more than 16 years, Kosygin spent the longest time in office.


[note 1]
Took office Left office Length of tenure Electorate Cabinets
1 Vladimir Lenin
Bundesarchiv Bild 183-71043-0003, Wladimir Iljitsch Lenin.jpg 6 July 1923 21 January 1924 199 days Lenin III
2 Alexei Rykov
Alexejrykov.jpg 2 February 1924 19 December 1930 6 years, 320 days 1924, 1925, 1927, 1929 Rykov IV
3 Vyacheslav Molotov
Molotov.bra.jpg 19 December 1930 6 May 1941 10 years, 138 days 1931, 1935, 1936, 1937 Molotov IIV
4 Joseph Stalin
JStalin Secretary general CCCP 1942.jpg 6 May 1941 5 March 1953 11 years, 303 days 1946, 1950 Stalin IIII
5 Georgy Malenkov
Georgy Malenkov 1964.jpg 6 March 1953 8 February 1955 1 year, 339 days 1954 Malenkov III
6 Nikolai Bulganin
Bundesarchiv Bild 183-29921-0001, Bulganin, Nikolai Alexandrowitsch.jpg 8 February 1955 27 March 1958 3 years, 47 days 1958 Bulganin I
7 Nikita Khrushchev
Bundesarchiv Bild 183-B0628-0015-035, Nikita S. Chruschtschow.jpg 27 March 1958 14 October 1964 6 years, 201 days 1962 Khrushchev III
8 Alexei Kosygin
A. Kosygin 1967.jpg 15 October 1964 23 October 1980 16 years, 8 days 1966, 1970, 1974, 1979 Kosygin IV
9 Nikolai Tikhonov
23 October 1980 27 September 1985 4 years, 339 days 1984 Tikhonov III
10 Nikolai Ryzhkov
(born 1929)[13]
Nikolai Ryzhkov.jpg 27 September 1985 14 January 1991 5 years, 109 days 1989 Ryzhkov III
11 Valentin Pavlov
14 January 1991 22 August 1991 220 days Pavlov I
12 Ivan Silayev
(born 1930)[15]
- 6 September 1991 26 December 1991 111 days Silayev I

See also