Mikhail Pervukhin

Last updated
Mikhail Pervukhin
Михаи́л Перву́хин
Bundesarchiv Bild 183-77054-0001, Pervukin AdK der UdSSR (detail).jpg
First Deputy Chairman of the Council of Ministers
In office
28 February 1955 5 July 1957
Premier Nikolai Bulganin
Preceded by Anastas Mikoyan
Succeeded by Maksim Saburov
Minister of Chemical Industry
In office
26 February 1942 17 January 1950
Premier Joseph Stalin
Preceded byMikhail Denisov
Succeeded bySergei Tikhomirov
Chairman of the State Economic Commission on Current Planning
In office
25 December 1956 10 May 1957
Premier Nikolai Bulganin
Preceded by Maksim Saburov
Succeeded byPost abolished
(Joseph Kuzmin as Gosplan chairman)
Minister of Medium Machine Building
In office
30 April 1957 24 July 1957
Premier Nikolai Bulganin
Preceded by Avraami Zavenyagin
Succeeded byEfim Slavsky
Full member of the 19th Presidium
In office
16 October 1952 6 March 1953
Candidate member of the 20th Presidium
In office
29 June 1957 17 October 1961
Personal details
Born(1904-10-14)14 October 1904
Yuryuzansky Zavod, Ufa governorate, Russian Empire
Died22 July 1978(1978-07-22) (aged 73)
Moscow, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union
Nationality Soviet
Political party CPSU (1919–1962)

Mikhail Georgievich Pervukhin (Russian : Михаи́л Гео́ргиевич Перву́хин; 14 October 1904 22 July 1978) was a Soviet official during the Stalin Era and Khrushchev Era. He served as a First Deputy Chairman of the Council of Ministers, literally First Vice-Premier of the Soviet Union, from 1955 to 1957.


Early life and career

He was born on 14 October 1904 in the village of Yuryuzansky Zavod, Ufa governorate, Russian Empire to a Russian working-class family. Pervukhin became a member of the Russian Communist Party in 1919. In August to September 1919 Pervukhin was a member of the Zlatoust city commission on the nationalisation of property belonging to the bourgeoisie. He began working for the Zlatoust newspaper Borba in October 1919, and worked there until February 1920 when he started to attend after-school lessons. He fought alongside the Bolsheviks in the Russian Civil War in the South Urals. From October to November 1920 Pervukhin was a member of the Bolshevik squad quelling the anti-Bolshevik uprising in Chrysostom.

From January 1921 to mid-autumn Pervukhin worked as the Executive Secretary of the Proletarian Thought . He was a member of the Bureau of the Zlatoust Komsomol District Committee, and later became the head of its Department for Political Education in April 1922. Later that year he became the Zlatoust Komsomol District Committee's Deputy Secretary, and was its Technical Secretary from April to August 1922. [1]

The Metal Workers' Union of the Zlatoust District Committee ordered Pervukhin to Moscow in the late summer of 1922 to study. He graduated in 1929 from the Electrical Department of the Plekhanov Moscow Institute of the National Economy with a degree in electrical engineering. Following his graduation, Pervukhin started work at Mosenergo, the Moscow electric power company. In May 1936 he became the Director of the Kashirskaya Power Plant. From June to September 1937, Pervukhin worked as Mosenergo's Chief Engineer, and later that year became its acting head. Pervukhin started to work for the People's Commissariat for Heavy Industry in late 1937, and was later appointed to the post of Deputy People's Commissar for Heavy Industry in 1938, and First Deputy People's Commissars for Heavy Industry in June 1937 when Lazar Kaganovich was People's Commissar for Heavy Industry. [1] During the Great Purge Pervukhin was promoted to Deputy Head of the Moscow Electrical Power Administration Bureau, and then its head. [2] On 24 January 1939 Pervukin was promoted to the newly established post of People's Commissar for Electric Power Stations and was given a seat in the Communist Party's Central Committee at the 18th Party Congress. [1]

World War II and the Stalin Era

From 1940 to 1942, during World War II (known as the Great Patriotic War in Russia), Pervukhin served as a Deputy Chairman of the Council of People's Commissars (literally, Soviet Deputy Premier), and from 1943 until 1950 he served as the Minister of Chemical Industry. [2] Pervukhin, alongside Boris Vannikov, was Vyacheslav Molotov's deputy on the State Defense Committee's commission responsible for the development of the Soviet atomic bomb since 1943. Along with Molotov, Pervukhin was in charge of the commission's uranium project. [3] When Joseph Stalin signed the State Defense Committee Resolution No. 9887, he established a Special Committee with emergency powers. The Committee's main duty was to oversee the work of those who contributed to the development of the atomic bomb. Stalin personally picked the members of the committee; Pervukhin was one of nine members. [4] Pervukhin was the Deputy Chairman under Vannikov's Chairmanship of the First Main Directorate of the Council of People's Commissars, the executive branch of the special committee. [5] He also served as Chairman of the State Commission on the RDS-1 testing at the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site. [1]

In 1950 Pervuhkin was once again appointed Deputy Chairman of the Council of Ministers and in 1952, at the 19th Party Congress, he was elected a member of the Presidium, the renamed Politburo. [2] At the 35th anniversary of the October Revolution in 1952, Pervukhin delivered the main speech at the Moscow Kremlin commemoration. [6] If Stalin was absent or could not carry out his duty as Chairman of the Council of Ministers, government meetings would be chaired, in turn by Pervukhin, Lavrentiy Beria, or Maksim Saburov. [7]

Post-Stalin era

As part of the changes in the post-Stalin era, a collective leadership was established with both Georgy Malenkov and Nikita Khrushchev vying for control. At the very beginning, Pervukhin, along with Georgy Zhukov and Saburov, actively participated in foreign policy decision-making. [8] Malenkov, the Chairman of the Council of Ministers, appointed Pervukhin the post of First Deputy Chairman of the Council of Ministers on 28 February 1955. [1] From 5 March 1953 to 17 April 1954, Pervukhin was the Minister of Power and Electrical Industry, and from December 1953 to February 1955, he was Chairman of the Bureau for Energy, Chemical and Forest Industries of the Council of Ministers. [1] On 25 December 1956 Nikolai Bulganin, the Chairman of the Council of Ministers, removed Saburov from his post as Chairman of the State Economic Commission on Current Planning and replaced him with Pervukhin. [9] who held the post until 10 May 1957. [1]

Pervukhin opposed Khrushchev's Regional Economic Soviet reform, whose main aim was to reduce the powers and functions of the central ministries. He told Khrushchev and other Presidium members that this reform would weaken branch administration, and that the centralisation and specialisation which had been the system's cornerstone would be lost. Instead, Pervukhin proposed to reduce the numbers of central ministries and establish territorial commissions to provide "horizontal cooperation". [10] Later, in 1957, Pervukhin joined the Anti-Party Group in a bid to remove Khrushchev as First Secretary. [11]

Ambassadorship to East Germany

Following the failed bid to remove Khrushchev, Pervukhin was demoted to a non-voting member of the Presidium, and became the Soviet Union's ambassador to East Germany in 1958. [1] As ambassador, Pervukhin observed that "the presence in Berlin of an open and essentially uncontrolled border between the socialist and capitalist worlds unwittingly prompts the population to make a comparison between both parts of the city, which unfortunately, does not always turn out in favor of the Democratic [East] Berlin". [12] Pervukin remained wary, until its very creation, of establishing a sectorial barrier between East and West Berlin; he believed that creating a barrier would increase anti-Soviet sympathies not only in Berlin but in Germany as well. Instead, he proposed three options: 1) "introducing restrictive measures" for East Germans to enter both East Berlin and West Berlin; 2) strengthening the border security; 3) stopping the free movement between the two cities. [13] However, he did admit that closing the borders was a possibility, claiming that if the political situation worsened, the East German regime and the Soviets would not have another option. [14]

Walter Ulbricht, the East German leader, invited Pervukhin to his summer house to discuss the East German immigration flow to West Germany. There Ulbricht told Pervukhin that if the Soviets did not react soon, East Germany would "collapse". [15] Pervukhin discussed other problems as well, claiming that Ulbricht but also the East German leadership in general, were opposed to the Soviet Union's plan to improve relations with West Germany. [16] When Khrushchev gave his approval to construct what would become the Berlin Wall, Pervukhin was the first to know. [17] Ulbricht told Pervukhin of the need to create the East–West barrier at night, and he and Khrushchev would later agree to this. [18]

At the 22nd Party Congress in 1961, Pevurkhin lost his seat in the Central Committee. [1] He was succeeded in his post as Soviet ambassador to East Germany by Peter Abrassimov at the end of 1962. [19]

Decorations and awards

Related Research Articles

Kliment Voroshilov

Kliment Yefremovich Voroshilov, popularly known as Klim Voroshilov, was a prominent Soviet military officer and politician during the Stalin era. He was one of the original five Marshals of the Soviet Union, the highest military rank of the Soviet Union, and served as Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet, the nominal Soviet head of state, from 1953 to 1960.

Nikita Khrushchev 1950–1964 First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union

Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev led the Soviet Union as the First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1953 to 1964 and as chairman of the country's Council of Ministers from 1958 to 1964. During his rule, Khrushchev stunned the communist world with his denunciation of Stalin's crimes and began de-Stalinization. He sponsored the early Soviet space program, and enactment of relatively liberal reforms in domestic policy. After some false starts, and a narrowly avoided nuclear war over Cuba, he conducted successful negotiations with the United States to reduce Cold War tensions. His proclivity toward recklessness led the Kremlin leadership to strip him from power, replacing him with Leonid Brezhnev as First Secretary and Alexei Kosygin as Premier.

Walter Ulbricht German communist politician

Walter Ernst Paul Ulbricht was a German communist politician. Ulbricht played a leading role in the creation of the Weimar-era Communist Party of Germany (KPD) and later in the early development and establishment of the German Democratic Republic in East Germany. As the First Secretary of the Socialist Unity Party from 1950 to 1971, he was the chief decision-maker in East Germany. From President Wilhelm Pieck's death in 1960 on, he was also the East German head of state until his own death in 1973. As the firm leader of the strongest and most important Communist satellite, Ulbricht had a degree of bargaining power with the Kremlin that he used effectively. For example he demanded the building of the Berlin Wall in 1961 when the Kremlin was reluctant.

Vyacheslav Molotov Soviet politician

Vyacheslav Mikhailovich Molotov was a Russian politician and diplomat, an Old Bolshevik, and a leading figure in the Soviet government from the 1920s onward. He served as Chairman of the Council of People's Commissars from 1930 to 1941 and as Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1939 to 1949 and from 1953 to 1956.

Otto Grotewohl German politician

Otto Emil Franz Grotewohl was a German politician who served as the first prime minister of the German Democratic Republic from 1949 to 1964.

General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union De facto Leader of the Soviet Union

The General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union was an office of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) that by the late 1920s had evolved into the most powerful of the Central Committee's various positions. Seldom in Soviet history would any other office trump the authority of General Secretary. From 1929 until the union's dissolution, the holder of the office was the de facto leader of the Soviet Union, because the post controlled both the CPSU and the Soviet government. The power of the office can be traced to Joseph Stalin when he elevated the office to overall command of the Communist Party and by extension the whole Soviet Union. Once Stalin outmaneuvered Leon Trotsky and assassinated his major political rivals through purges, the General Secretary exercised total control of party and nation. Nikita Khrushchev renamed the post First Secretary in 1953 as part of de-stalinization. The change was reverted in 1966. The office grew out of less powerful secretarial positions within the party: Technical Secretary (1917–1918), Chairman of the Secretariat (1918–1919), and Responsible Secretary (1919–1922).

Alexei Kosygin Soviet politician (1904–1980)

Alexei Nikolayevich Kosygin was a Soviet-Russian statesman during the Cold War. He served as the Premier of the Soviet Union from 1964 to 1980 and was one of the most influential Soviet policymakers in the mid-1960s.

Roy Medvedev Russian political writer (born 1925)

Roy Aleksandrovich Medvedev is a Russian political writer. He is the author of the dissident history of Stalinism, Let History Judge, first published in English in 1972.

Maksim Saburov

Maksim Zakharovich Saburov was a Soviet engineer, economist and politician, three-time Chairman of Gosplan and later First Deputy Premier of the Soviet Union. He was involved in the Anti-Party Group's attempt to displace Nikita Khrushchev in 1957.

Nikolai Patolichev

Nikolai Semyonovich Patolichev was Minister of Foreign Trade of the USSR from 1958 to 1985. Prior to that, he was the First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Byelorussia from 1950 to 1956.

The Government of the Soviet Union, formally the All-Union Government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, commonly abbreviated to Soviet Government, was the executive and administrative organ of state in the former Soviet Union. It had three different names throughout its existence; Council of People's Commissars (1923–1946), Council of Ministers (1946–1991) and Cabinet of Ministers (1991). It also was known as Workers-Peasants Government of the Soviet Union.

Nikolai Bulganin

Nikolai Alexandrovich Bulganin was a Soviet politician who served as Minister of Defense (1953–1955) and Premier of the Soviet Union (1955–1958) under Nikita Khrushchev, following service in the Red Army and as defence minister under Joseph Stalin.

On the Cult of Personality and Its Consequences Report by Nikita Khrushchev on 25 February 1956, sharply critical of Stalin, charging him with a cult of personality

"On the Cult of Personality and Its Consequences", also popularly known as the "Secret Speech", was a report by Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev, First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, made to the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union on 25 February 1956. Khrushchev's speech was sharply critical of the rule of the deceased General Secretary and Premier Joseph Stalin, particularly with respect to the purges which had especially marked the last years of the 1930s. Khrushchev charged Stalin with having fostered a leadership cult of personality despite ostensibly maintaining support for the ideals of communism. The speech was leaked to the west by the Israeli intelligence agency, Shin Bet, which received it from the Polish-Jewish journalist Wiktor Grajewski.

Council of Ministers of the Soviet Union Main executive body of the USSR government from 1946 to 1991

The Council of Ministers of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, was the de jure government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), comprising the main executive and administrative agency of the USSR from 1946 until 1991.

Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union

The Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union was the executive leadership of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, acting between sessions of Congress. According to party statutes, the committee directed all party and governmental activities. Its members were elected by the Party Congress.

The Nineteenth Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union was held from 5 to 14 October 1952. It was the first party congress after World War II and the last under Joseph Stalin's leadership. It was attended by many dignitaries from foreign Communist parties, including Liu Shaoqi from China. At this Congress, Stalin gave the last public speech of his life. The 19th Central Committee was elected at the congress.

Vyacheslav Malyshev Russian politician

Viacheslav Aleksandrovich Malyshev was a Soviet statesman who was one of the leading figures of Soviet industry during the 1940s and 1950s. During the war, he served as People's Commissar of Heavy Machine Building since 1939 and Vice-Chairman of Council of People's Commissars since 1940. From 1941 he supervised Soviet tank industry, later he was responsible for shipbuilding and transport industry. He was elected Vice-Chairman of Council of Ministers of the Soviet Union twice, from 1947 to 1953 and again from 1954 to 1956. He was also appointed the first head of Ministry of Medium Machine Building, supervising the whole Soviet nuclear industry.

Pyotr Abrassimov Soviet war hero and politician

Pyotr Andreievitch Abrassimov was a Soviet war hero and politician who became a career diplomat. He served his country as ambassador successively in China, France, Poland and East Germany.

Death and state funeral of Joseph Stalin Soviet political leaders 1953 death

Joseph Stalin, the second leader of the Soviet Union, died on 5 March 1953 at the Kuntsevo Dacha aged 74 after suffering a stroke. He was given a state funeral with four days of national mourning declared. His body was subsequently embalmed and interred in Lenin's & Stalin's Mausoleum until 1961. Nikita Khrushchev, Georgy Malenkov, Vyacheslav Molotov and Lavrentiy Beria were in charge of organizing the funeral.


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Симоновым, A.A. Первухин, Михаил Георгиевич [Pervukhin, Mikhail Gyeorgievich] (in Russian). warheroes.ru. Retrieved 9 April 2011.
  2. 1 2 3 Hough, Jerry; Fainsod, Merle (1979). How the Soviet Union is Governed. Harvard University Press. p. 202. ISBN   0-674-41030-0.
  3. Roy & Zhores Medvedev 2006, p. 136.
  4. Roy & Zhores Medvedev 2006, p. 124.
  5. Roy & Zhores Medvedev 2006, pp. 124 & 131.
  6. Roy & Zhores Medvedev 2006, p. 42.
  7. Roy & Zhores Medvedev 2006, p. 18.
  8. Zubok, A Failed Empire, p. 99.
  9. Smith, Khrushchev in the Kremlin, p. 110
  10. Smith, Khrushchev in the Kremlin, p. 95.
  11. Zubok, A Failed Empire, p. 119.
  12. Harrison 2003, p. 90.
  13. Harrison 2003, p. 184.
  14. Harrison 2003, pp. 184–185.
  15. Harrison 2003, p. 185.
  16. Harrison 2003, p. 147.
  17. Harrison 2003, p. 186.
  18. Harrison 2003, p. 193.
  19. Khrushchev, Nikita; Khrushchev, Sergei; Shriver, George; Shenfield, Stephen (2007). Memoirs of Nikita Khrushchev: Reformer, 1953–1964. Penn State Press. p. 315. ISBN   0-271-02935-8.