Alexei Kosygin Biography

(Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Soviet Union from 1964 to 1980)

Birthday: February 21, 1904 (Pisces)

Born In: Saint Petersburg, Russia

Alexei Kosygin was an important statesman of Soviet-Russia during the cold war. As part of his evacuation process of civilians from Leningrad, he developed his famous “Road of Life”, an ice transport route which also included several roads and underwater pipelines and power-lines. This route played a crucial role to provide food, ammunition and fuel to the civilians as well as defenders of Leningrad, encircled by the Nazi armed forces and the Finnish Army. The credit of evacuating more than one and a half million civilians at that time goes to him. Moreover, his intelligent effort saved major industries for their timely evacuation. For this contribution, he received the Order of Red Star. Rising up in the Soviet hierarchy, he became the Minister of Finance and later acted as the Minister of Light Industry. After Stalin’s death in 1953, he was appointed to the position of the First Deputy Chairman of the Council of Ministries. To improve the condition of Soviet industry, he introduced “Kosygin reform”. He believed that decentralisation, semi-public companies and cooperatives can promote growth and profit in industry. But he had to face opposition for the failure of his reform. In later years of his life, he remained busy in improving the economic administration of his country through modifications of targets. Besides this, he worked for the improvement of food security and ensured the future intensification of production.

Quick Facts

Also Known As: Alexei Nikolayevich Kosygin

Died At Age: 76


Spouse/Ex-: Claudia Andreyevna Krivosheina (m. 1908–1967)

father: Nikolai Ilyich

mother: Matrona Alexandrovna

children: Lyudmila Alexeevna

Born Country: Russia

Political Leaders Russian Men

Height: 5'10" (178 cm), 5'10" Males

political ideology: Communist Party of the Soviet Union

Died on: December 18, 1980

place of death: Moscow, Russia

City: Saint Petersburg, Russia

More Facts

awards: 1964 - Order of Lenin
1964 - Hammer and Sickle
1964 - Hero of Socialist Labour

1970 - Grand Cross of the Order of the Sun

  • 1

    What were Alexei Kosygin's major accomplishments during his time as the Premier of the Soviet Union?

    Alexei Kosygin implemented economic reforms and modernization policies, oversaw the signing of several key international treaties, and played a significant role in shaping Soviet foreign policy during the Cold War.

  • 2

    How did Alexei Kosygin contribute to the Soviet space program?

    Alexei Kosygin supported and oversaw the development of various space missions and projects, including the successful launch of the first manned spacecraft, Vostok 1, which carried Yuri Gagarin into space.

  • 3

    What was the significance of Alexei Kosygin's role in the Soviet leadership structure?

    As the Premier of the Soviet Union, Alexei Kosygin held significant power and influence in shaping domestic and foreign policies, especially in economic and industrial sectors, during a crucial period of the Cold War.

  • 4

    What impact did Alexei Kosygin have on the Soviet economy?

    Alexei Kosygin initiated economic reforms aimed at improving efficiency and productivity in various sectors of the Soviet economy, including agriculture, industry, and trade, which had a lasting impact on the country's economic development.

  • 5

    How did Alexei Kosygin's leadership style differ from other Soviet leaders of his time?

    Alexei Kosygin was known for his pragmatic and technocratic approach to governance, emphasizing economic planning and rational decision-making, which set him apart from the more ideological and authoritarian leadership styles of other Soviet leaders.

Childhood & Early Life
Hailing from a working class family of St. Petersburg, Russia, Alexei Kosygin was the son of Nikolai Kosygin, a technician at Lessner plant, and Matrona Alexandrovna.
He lost his mother when he was very young. In 1919, he became a part of the Labor Army whose leader was Trotsky. After joining the Soviet Communist Party in 1921, he received necessary support for his education from the party as a reward of his loyalty and commitment.
In 1924, he completed his graduation from the Leningrad Cooperative Technical Institute. In the same year, he started a small British-Russian joint-venture for digging and selling Siberian gold. He continued his business till 1927.
After returning to St. Petersburg, he attended Leningrad Institute of Textile Industry from 1930 to 1935. He graduated as an Engineer from this institute.
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After completing his education, he served for the Chair of Leningrad City Department of Industry. In 1937, he took-up the responsibility of the director of the October Spinning Mill.
In the year 1938, he became Mayor of Leningrad. After becoming minister of the textile industry in 1939, he achieved the position of the Vice-Chairman of the U.S.S.R. Supreme Economic Council.
To save the civilians of Leningrad (encircled by the Nazi Wermacht and the Finnish Army) during the summer of 1941, he developed “Road of Life”, an ice transport route across Lake Ladoga.
For his great contribution in evacuating the civilians of Leningrad, he was made the Premier of the Russian Federation. From 1943 to 1946, he served as the Prime Minister of Russia.
The turning point of his career came while working as Joseph Stalin’s minister of finance in 1948.
In 1949, he was blamed for misappropriation of funds and stealing gold and jewels. Later, he was absolved from this accusation due to his loyalty and hard work.
From 1949 to 1953, he was the Minister of Light Industry. After Stalin’s death in 1953, Kosygin’s rank was reduced. However, within a brief period he acquired the position of an official of the State Planning Committee in 1957.
Besides achieving an important position in the committee, he became a candidate member of the Politburo. Gradually, he was promoted to the State Planning Committee chairmanship.
In 1960, he acted as Khrushchev’s First Deputy Premier. As a part of his job, he travelled to several countries for trade purpose. After the Cuban Missile Crisis, he endeavoured to improve relations between the Soviet Union and the United States as the Soviet spokesman.
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After Khrushchev’s removal from the Politburo in 1964, he took over Khrushchev’s position. During this time, he faced criticism for his unrealistic economic plan and producing excessive consumer goods.
In 1965, he introduced an economic reform, known as the “Kosygin reform”. Through this, he tried to increase the quantity of production and incentives for managers and workers.
After receiving invitation from the US Government, he attended the Glassboro Summit Conference in June 1967 but both sides failed to reach any agreement on limiting anti-ballistic missile system.
His reform also aimed to free managers from the centralized state bureaucracy. During its testing phase, the reform was applied to 336 enterprises in light industry. During the signing of the Tashkent Declaration in 1966, he acted as a mediator between India and Pakistan.
In 1970, along with Gromyko, he signed the 1970 Moscow Treaty. The relation between Soviet and Iraq strengthened after he signed a Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation with the government of Iraq in 1972.
In 1973, he proposed an economic reform to weaken the central ministries and to empower the regional authorities at republican and local levels. Through his 1979 reform, he tried to increase the central government’s economic involvement.
Personal Life & Legacy
He got married to Claudia Andreyevna Krivosheina in 1927 and had a child Lyudmila Alexeevna, with her.
In October 1980, he was hospitalized after suffering a heart attack.
After he breathed his last, none of his Politburo colleagues or former aids visited him. As he passed away on the eve of Brezhnev’s birthday, the information of Kosygin’s death was officially spread only after three days so that people could remain festive.
Facts About Alexei Kosygin

Alexei Kosygin was known for his love of sports, particularly ice hockey. He was an avid fan and often attended games to show his support for the sport.

Kosygin had a passion for gardening and spent much of his free time tending to his garden. He was known for his green thumb and was especially fond of growing roses.

Despite his busy schedule as a high-ranking Soviet official, Kosygin was known for his love of literature and often found solace in reading classic Russian novels in his spare time.

Kosygin was a skilled pianist and enjoyed playing the piano as a way to relax and unwind. He was known to entertain guests with his musical talents during social gatherings.

In addition to his political career, Kosygin was also a dedicated family man. He was known to prioritize spending quality time with his wife and children, even amidst his demanding responsibilities as a leader.

See the events in life of Alexei Kosygin in Chronological Order

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