Semyon Ignatyev

Semyon Ignatyev
Ministry of State Security (MGB)
In office
9 August 1951 – 5 March 1953
Preceded by Sergei Ogoltsov
Succeeded by Office abolished
Full member of the 19th Presidium
In office
16 October 1952 – 5 March 1953
Member of the 19th Secretariat
In office
5 March 1953 – 5 April 1953
Personal details
Born 14 September 1904
Karlivka, Kherson Governorate, Russian Empire
Died 27 November 1983(1983-11-27) (aged 79)
Moscow, Soviet Union
Nationality Soviet
Political party Communist Party of the Soviet Union (1926-1961)

Semyon Denisovich Ignatiev, also spelled Ignatyev (Russian: Семён Денисович Игнатьев; 14 September 1904, Karlivka, Kherson Governorate – 27 November 1983, Moscow) was a Soviet politician.


Ignatiev, the son of a peasant family of Ukrainian ethnicity, an engineer, joined the Communist Party in 1926. For most of his career, he was a discreet regional apparatchik, serving as Party Secretary in Buryat ASSR, Bashkir ASSR, Byelorussian SSR and finally Uzbek SSR. He was called to Moscow in 1950. Joseph Stalin wanted Ignatiev to counter the influence of Lavrenti Beria and Viktor Abakumov, the two leading officials of the secret police at the time.

In 1951, he was chosen by Stalin to replace Abakumov as the Minister of the MGB of the USSR. During his tenure as head of the secret police, Ignatiev investigated the Doctors' Plot, helping to propagate antisemitism in the Soviet Union, suspected by Laventriy Beria of trying to cover up a wrecking incident.

He was a member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1952 until 1961. He also briefly served as a member of the Presidium of the Central Committee (previously named Politburo) in the final months before Stalin's demise.

Immediately after the Stalin's death, Ignatiev lost most of his power, as Beria absorbed the MGB into his MVD on 5 March 1953. Ignatiev was sent back to Bashkir ASSR and ended his political career as the Party Secretary in Tatar ASSR, before retiring in 1960.

Unlike Beria and Abakumov, who were executed in 1953 and 1954 respectively, Ignatiev died of natural causes. He died in 1983 and was buried in the Novodevichy Cemetery in Moscow, along with many members of the Soviet elite.


  • Gorlitzki, Yoram; Khlevniuk, Oleg (2004). Cold Peace: Stalin and the Soviet Ruling Circle, 1945–1953. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-534735-8.
  • Marie, Jean-Jacques (2001). Staline. Paris: Fayard. ISBN 2-213-60897-0.
  • Sebag Montefiore, Simon (2004). Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar. London: Phoenix. ISBN 0-7538-1766-7.

External links