Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
(USSR, 1922-1991)
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This page was given major contributions and corrections from Randy Ragsdale, Oleg Schultz and Bob Hilkens

Look also for the detailed CPSU leadership, 1917-1991, special courtesy of Randy Ragsdale.

The site Rulers brings out the lists of the leaders of the 15 Soviet Socialist Republics.

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Top leaders of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU, 1922-1991)
Senior Secretaries of the Central Committee (unofficial) 
Iosif Vissaryonovich Stalin        3 Apr 1922 -  5 Mar 1953 (+1953)
Georgiy Maksimilianovich Malenkov  5 Mar 1953 - 14 Mar 1953 (+1988) 
Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev     14 Mar 1953 - 13 Sep 1953 (+1971) 

First Secretaries of the Central Committee
Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev     13 Sep 1953 - 14 Oct 1964 (+1971)
Leonid Ilyich Brezhnev            14 Oct 1964 -  8 Apr 1966 (+1982)

General Secretaries of the Central Committee
Leonid Ilyich Brezhnev             8 Apr 1966 - 10 Nov 1982 (+1982)
Yuriy Vladimirovich Andropov      12 Nov 1982 -  9 Feb 1984 (+1984)
Konstantin Ustinovich Chernenko   13 Feb 1984 - 10 Mar 1985 (+1985)
Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev     11 Mar 1985 - 24 Aug 1991

(1) From 1898 to 1918, the then CPSU was known as the Russian Social Democratic Workers's Party (Bolshevik), from 1918 to 1925 it was called the Russian Communist Party and from 1925 to 1952 as the All-Union Communist Party.

(2) Lenin, regardless his condition of de facto party leader up to his death in Jan 1924, was never General Secretary of the Central Committee nor Chairman of the Politburo. Prior to the creation of the General Secretaryship on 3 Apr 1922, a collective secretary existed. A formal Secretariat was created on 24 Mar 1919 with Nikolai Krestinsky at the head, and he served until the selection of Vyacheslav Molotov to the post on 17 Mar 1921. Beginning from 26 Jan 1934, Stalin was simply listed among the various secretaries of the Central Committee, mostly on top. There was no further official designation of a First Secretary until Khrushchev's formal elevation to the party leadership on 13 Sep 1953. The title of General Secretary was officially introduced on 8 Apr 1966.


Heads of State
Chairmen of the Central Executive Committe of the All-Russian Congress of Soviets
Lev Borisovich Kamenev             9 Nov 1917 - 21 Nov 1917 (+1936, executed)
Yakov Mikhaylovich Sverdlov       21 Nov 1917 - 16 Mar 1919 (+1919)       
Mikhail Fyodorovich Vladimirsky   16 Mar 1919 - 30 Mar 1919 (+1951) (acting)
Mikhail Ivanovich Kalinin         30 Mar 1919 - 19 Jul 1938 (+1946)   

Chairman of the Central Executive Committee of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
Mikhail Ivanovich Kalinin         30 Dec 1922 - 12 Jan 1938 (+1946) (3) 

Chairmen of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet
Mikhail Ivanovich Kalinin         17 Jan 1938 - 19 Mar 1946 (+1946)
Nikolay Mikhaylovich Shvernik     19 Mar 1946 -  6 Mar 1953 (+1970)      
Kliment Yefremovich Voroshilov    15 Mar 1953 -  7 May 1960 (+1969)      
Leonid Ilyich Brezhnev             7 May 1960 - 15 Jul 1964 (+1982)      
Anastas Ivanovich Mikoyan         15 Jul 1964 -  9 Dec 1965 (+1978)      
Nikolay Viktorovich Podgorniy      9 Dec 1965 - 16 Jun 1977 (+1983)      
Leonid Ilyich Brezhnev            16 Jun 1977 - 10 Nov 1982 (+1982)          
Vasiliy Vasilyevich Kuznetsov     10 Nov 1982 - 16 Jun 1983 (+1990) (acting, as 1st deputy)
Yuriy Vladimirovich Andropov      16 Jun 1983 -  9 Feb 1984 (+1984)          
Vasiliy Vasilyevich Kuznetsov      9 Feb 1984 - 11 Apr 1984 (+1990) (acting, as 1st deputy)
Konstantin Ustinovich Chernenko   11 Apr 1984 - 10 Mar 1985 (+1985)          
Vasiliy Vasilyevich Kuznetsov     10 Mar 1985 - 27 Jul 1985 (+1990) (acting, as 1st deputy)
Andrey Andreyevich Gromyko        27 Jul 1985 -  1 Oct 1988 (+1989)       
Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev      1 Oct 1988 - 25 May 1989         

Chairman of the Supreme Soviet
Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev     25 May 1989 - 15 Mar 1990          

President of the USSR
Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev     15 Mar 1990 - 25 Dec 1991 (4) 

(3) The Central Executive Committee of the USSR was a collective body comprised by several chairmen, in principle one of each constituent SSR, although Kalinin (from Russian SFSR) was ofted viewed as the single chairman. The other chairmen were: Grigoriy Ivanovich Petrovskiy (Ukrainian SSR, died 1958) from 30 Dec 1922 to 12 Jan 1938; Aleksandr Grigoryevich Chervyakov (Bielorussian SSR, committed suicide 1937) from 30 Dec 1922 to 16 Jun 1937; Nariman K. N. ogly Narimanov (Transcaucasian SFSR, died in office) from 30 Dec 1922 to 19 Mar 1925; Gazanfar Mahmud ogly Musabekov (Transcaucasian SFSR, executed 1938) from 21 May 1925 to Jun 1937; Nedirbay Aytakov (Turkmen SSR, executed 1938) from 21 May 1925 to 21 Jul 1937; Fayzulla Khodzhayev (Uzbek SSR, executed 1938) from 21 May 1925 to 17 Jun 1937; Nusratulla Maksum (Lutfulayev) (Tadjik SSR, executed 1938) from 18 Mar 1931 to 4 Jan 1934 and Abdulla Rakhimbayev (Tadjik SSR, executed 1938) from 4 Jan 1934 to Sep 1937.

(4) A so-called State Council for the State of Emergency (SCSE) took over in the 19 Aug 1991 coup d'etat against Gorbachev and was disbanded two days after. The SCSE members were the then paramount Soviet leaders: Vice-President Gennadiy Yanayev ("acting" for president Gorbachev, died 2010); Prime Minister Valentin Pavlov (died 2003); KGB director Vladimir Kryuchkov (died 2007); Defence Minister Dmitriy Yazov; Interior Minister Boris Pugo (committed suicide 1991); Secretary of the CPSU Central Committee and deputy chairman of the Defence Council Oleg Baklanov; chairman of the Peasants' Union Vasiliy Starodubtsev (died 2011) and chairman of the Association of State Enterprises Aleksandr Tiziakov.


Heads of Government
Chairmen of the Council of People's Commissars
Vladimir Ilyich Lenin               8 Nov 1917 - 21 Jan 1924 (+1924)       
Aleksey Ivanovich Rykov            23 Jan 1924 - 19 Dec 1930 (+1938, executed) 
Vyacheslav Mikhaylovich Molotov    19 Dec 1930 -  6 May 1941 (+1986)   
Iosif Vissaryonovich Stalin         6 May 1941 - 15 Mar 1946 (+1946)      

Chairmen of the Council of Ministers (Premiers)
Iosif Vissaryonovich Stalin        19 Mar 1946 -  5 Mar 1953 (+1953)      
Georgiy Maksimilianovich Malenkov   5 Mar 1953 -  8 Feb 1955 (+1988)  
Nikolay Aleksandrovich Bulganin     8 Feb 1955 - 27 Mar 1958 (+1975)       
Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev      27 Mar 1958 - 15 Oct 1964 (+1971) 
Aleksey Nikolayevich Kosygin       15 Oct 1964 - 23 Oct 1980 (+1980)      
Nikolay Aleksandrovich Tikhonov    23 Oct 1980 - 27 Sep 1985 (+1997)        
Nikolay Ivanovich Ryzhkov          27 Sep 1985 - 14 Jan 1991          

Prime Minister
Valentin Sergeyevich Pavlov        14 Jan 1991 - 22 Aug 1991 (+2003)       

Chief of the Committee on Operative Management of the People's Economy
Ivan Stepanovich Silayev           24 Aug 1991 - 14 Nov 1991

Chairman of the Interrepublican Economic Committee
Ivan Stepanovich Silayev           20 Sep 1991 - 14 Nov 1991

Chairman of the Interstate Economic Committee
Ivan Stepanovich Silayev           14 Nov 1991 - 26 Dec 1991

Vice President
Gennadiy Ivanovich Yanayev         27 Dec 1990 - 22 Aug 1991 (+2010)

Chairmen of the Supreme Soviet
Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev      25 May 1989 - 15 Mar 1990     
Anatoly Ivanovich Lukyanov         15 Mar 1990 - 22 Aug 1991

Ministers of Foreign Affairs
People's Commissars for Foreign Affairs
Lev Davydovich Trotskiy                      1917 -        1918 (+1940, assassinated)
Georgiy Vasilyevich Chicherin                1918 - 21 Jul 1930 (+1936)   
Maksim Maksimovich Litvinov           21 Jul 1930 -  3 May 1939 (+1951)   
Vyacheslav Mikhaylovich Molotov        3 May 1939 - 15 Mar 1946 (+1986) 

Ministers of Foreign Affairs
Vyacheslav Mikhaylovich Molotov       19 Mar 1946 -  4 Mar 1949 (+1986) 
Andrey Yanuaryevich Vyshinskiy         4 Mar 1949 -  5 Mar 1953 (+1954)
Vyacheslav Mikhaylovich Molotov        5 Mar 1953 -  1 Jun 1956 (+1986)
Dmitriy Trofimovich Shepilov           1 Jun 1956 - 15 Feb 1957 (+1995)   
Andrey Andreyevich Gromyko            15 Feb 1957 -  2 Jul 1985 (+1989)
Eduard Amvrosiyevich Shevardnadze      2 Jul 1985 - 15 Jan 1991 (+2014) (acting from 20 Dec 1990)          
Aleksandr Aleksandrovich Bessmertnykh 15 Jan 1991 - 23 Aug 1991               
Boris Dmitriyevich Pankin             28 Aug 1991 - 14 Nov 1991               

Minister of External Relations
Eduard Amvrosiyevich Shevardnadze     19 Nov 1991 - 26 Dec 1991 (+2014)

Chairmen and directors of KGB and predecessor agencies
All-Russian Extraordinary Commissary against the Counterrevolution and the Sabotage (Cheka)
Feliks Edmundovich Dzerzhinksiy            1917 -        1922 (+1926) 

Main Political Department (State security, GPU) 
Feliks Edmundovich Dzerzhinksiy            1922 -        1923 (+1926) 

Joint Main Political Department (State Security, OGPU) 
Feliks Edmundovich Dzerzhinksiy     18 Sep 1923 - 20 Jul 1926 (+1926) 
Vyacheslav Rudolfovich Menzhinskiy  30 Jul 1926 - 10 May 1934 (+1934)        

---> OGPU merged into NKVD 10 Jul 1934

People's Commissary for State Security (NKGB)
Vsevolod Nikolayevich Merkulov       3 Feb 1941 - 20 Jul 1941 (+1953, executed)

---> NKGB merged with NKVD from 20 Jul 1941 to 14 Apr 1943

People's Commissary for State Security (NKGB)
Vsevolod Nikolayevich Merkulov      14 Apr 1943 - 15 Mar 1946 (+1953, executed)

Ministry of State Security (MGB)
Vsevolod Nikolayevich Merkulov      19 Mar 1946 -  7 May 1946 (+1953, executed) 
Viktor Semyonovich Abakumov          7 May 1946 - 14 Jul 1951 (+1954, executed)
Sergey Ivanovich Ogoltsov           14 Jul 1951 -  9 Aug 1951 (+1976) (acting)
Semyon Denisovich Ignatiyev          9 Aug 1951 -  5 Mar 1953 (+1983)

---> MGB merged into MVD 5 Mar 1953

Committee for State Security (KGB)
Ivan Aleksandrovich Serov           13 Mar 1954 -  8 Dec 1958 (+1990)
Aleksandr Nikolayevich Shelepin     25 Dec 1958 - 13 Nov 1961 (+1994)  
Vladimir Yefimovich Semichastniy    13 Nov 1961 - 18 May 1967 (+2001)         
Yuriy Vladimirovich Andropov        18 May 1967 - 26 May 1982 (+1984)  
Vitaliy Vasilyevich Fedorchuk       26 May 1982 - 17 Dec 1982 (+2008)              
Viktor Mikhaylovich Chebrikov       17 Dec 1982 -  1 Oct 1988 (+1999)  
Vladimir Aleksandrovich Kryuchkov    1 Oct 1988 - 22 Aug 1991 (+2007)        
Leonid Vladimirovich Shebarshin     22 Aug 1991 - 23 Aug 1991 (+2012) (acting)
Vadim Viktorovich Bakatin           23 Aug 1991 - 22 Oct 1991     

Ministers of Defence
People's Commissars for Military and Navy Affairs
Lev Davydovich Trotskiy                    1918 - 25 Jan 1925 (+1940, assassinated)
Mikhail Vasilyevich Frunze          25 Jan 1925 - 31 Oct 1925 (+1925)      
Kliment Yefremovich Voroshilov       6 Nov 1925 - 20 Jun 1934 (+1969)   

People's Commissars for the Defence
Kliment Yefremovich Voroshilov      20 Jun 1934 -  7 May 1940 (+1969)   
Semyon Konstantinovich Timoshenko    7 May 1940 - 19 Jul 1941 (+1970)   
Iosif Vissaryonovich Stalin         19 Jul 1941 - 25 Feb 1946 (+1953)   

People's Commissar for the Armed Forces
Iosif Vissaryonovich Stalin         25 Feb 1946 - 15 Mar 1946 (+1953)

Ministers of the Armed Forces
Iosif Vissaryonovich Stalin         19 Mar 1936 -  3 Mar 1947 (+1953)
Nikolay Aleksandrovich Bulganin      3 Mar 1947 - 24 Mar 1949 (+1975) 
Aleksandr Mikhaylovich Vasilyevskiy 24 Mar 1949 - 25 Feb 1950 (+1977) 

Military Ministers
Aleksandr Mikhaylovich Vasilyevskiy 25 Feb 1950 -  5 Mar 1953 (+1977)
Nikolay Aleksandrovich Bulganin      5 Mar 1953 - 15 Mar 1953 (+1975)

Ministers of Defence
Nikolay Aleksandrovich Bulganin     19 Mar 1953 -  9 Feb 1955 (+1975) 
Georgiy Konstantinovich Zhukov       9 Feb 1955 - 26 Oct 1957 (+1974) 
Rodion Yakovlevich Malinovski       26 Oct 1957 - 31 Mar 1967 (+1967)     
Andrey Antonovich Grechko           12 Apr 1967 - 26 Apr 1976 (+1976)      
Dmitriy Fyodorovich Ustinov         29 Apr 1976 - 20 Dec 1984 (+1984)   
Sergey Leonidovich Sokolov          22 Dec 1984 - 30 May 1987 (+2012)                
Dmitriy Timofeyevich Yazov          30 May 1987 - 22 Aug 1991                 
Mikhail Akekseyevich Moiseyev       22 Aug 1991 - 23 Aug 1991        (acting)
Yevgeniy Ivanovich Shaposhnikov     23 Aug 1991 - 26 Dec 1991                          

Ministers of Internal Affairs
People's Commissary for Internal Affairs (NKVD)
Genrikh Grigoryevich Yagoda      10 Jul 1934 - 26 Sep 1936 (+1938, executed)
Nikolay Ivanovich Yezhov         26 Sep 1936 - 25 Nov 1938 (+1940, executed)
Lavrentiy Pavlovich Beriya       25 Nov 1938 - 29 Dec 1945 (+1953, executed)
Sergey Nikiforovich Kruglov      29 Dec 1945 - 19 Mar 1946 (+1977)

Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD)
Sergey Nikiforovich Kruglov      19 Mar 1946 -  5 Mar 1953 (+1977)
Lavrentiy Pavlovich Beriya        5 Mar 1953 - 26 Jun 1953 (+1953, executed)
Sergey Nikiforovich Kruglov      26 Jun 1953 - 31 Jan 1956 (+1977)
Nikolay Pavlovich Dudorov        31 Jan 1956 - 13 Jan 1960 (+1977) 

Ministry of Public Order Security (POOP)
Nikolai Anisimovich Shcholokov   17 Sep 1966 - 25 Nov 1968 (+1984, suicide)

Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD)
Nikolai Anisimovich Shcholokov   25 Nov 1968 - 17 Dec 1982 (+1984, suicide)
Vitaliy Vasilyevich Fedorchuk    17 Dec 1982 - 24 Jan 1986 (+2008)         
Aleksandr Vladimirovich Vlasov   24 Jan 1986 - 10 Oct 1988 (+2002)           
Vadim Viktorovich Bakatin        20 Oct 1988 -  1 Dec 1990            
Boris Karlovich Pugo              1 Dec 1990 - 22 Aug 1991 (1991, suicide)
Vasiliy Petrovich Trushin        22 Aug 1991 - 23 Aug 1991        (acting)
Viktor Pavlovich Barannikov      23 Aug 1991 - 26 Dec 1991 (+1995)

Chairmen of the State Planning Commission/Committee (GOSPLAN)
Chairmen of the State Planning Commission (under the Council of People's Commissars/Council of Ministers)
Gleb Maksimilianovich Krzhizhanovsky 13 Aug 1923 - 11 Dec 1923 (+1959)
Aleksandr Dmitrievich Tsyurupa       11 Dec 1923 - 18 Nov 1925 (+1928)
Gleb Maksimilianovich Krzhizhanovsky 18 Nov 1925 - 10 Nov 1930 (+1959)
Valerian Vladimirovich Kuybyshev     10 Nov 1930 - 25 Apr 1934 (+1935)
Valeriy Ivanovich Mezhlauk           25 Apr 1934 - 25 Feb 1937 (+1938, executed)
Gennadiy Ivanovich Smirnov           25 Feb 1937 - 17 Oct 1937 (+1938, executed)
Valeriy Ivanovich Mezhlauk           17 Oct 1937 -  1 Dec 1937 (+1938, executed)
Nikolay Alekseyevich Voznesenskiy    19 Jan 1938 - 10 Mar 1941 (+1950, executed)
Maksim Zakharovich Saburov           10 Mar 1941 -  8 Dec 1942 (+1977)
Nikolay Alekseyevich Voznesenskiy     8 Dec 1942 -  9 Jan 1948 (+1950, executed)

Chairmen of the State Planning Committee (under the Council of Ministers)
Nikolay Alekseyevich Voznesenskiy     9 Jan 1948 -  5 Mar 1949 (+1950, executed)
Maksim Zakharovich Saburov            5 Mar 1949 -  5 Mar 1953 (+1977)
Grigoriy Petrovich Kosyachenko        5 Mar 1953 - 29 Jun 1953 (+1983)
Maksim Zakharovich Saburov           29 Jun 1953 - 25 May 1955 (+1977)

Chairmen of the State Commission (of the Council of Ministers) for Advanced Planning of People's Economy
Nikolay Konstantinovich Baybakov     25 May 1955 -  3 May 1957 (+2008)
Yosif Yosifovich Kuzmin               3 May 1957 - 10 May 1957 (+1996)

Chairmen of the State Planning Committe (of the Council of Ministers)
Yosif Yosifovich Kuzmin              10 May 1957 - 20 Mar 1959 (+1996)
Aleksey Nikolayevich Kosygin         20 Mar 1959 -  4 May 1960 (+1980)
Vladimir Nikolayevich Novikov         4 May 1960 - 17 Jul 1962 (+2000)
Veniamin Emmanuilovich Dymshits      17 Jul 1962 - 24 Nov 1962 (+1993)
Pyotr Fadeyevich Lomako              24 Nov 1962 -  2 Oct 1965 (+1990)
Nikolay Kostantinovich Baybakov       2 Oct 1965 - 14 Oct 1985 (+2008)
Nikolay Vladimirovich Talyzin        14 Oct 1985 -  5 Feb 1988 (+1991)
Yuriy Dmitriyevich Maslyukov          5 Feb 1988 -  1 Apr 1991 (+2010)

Minister of Economy and Forecast
Vladimir Ivanovich Shcherbakov       16 May 1991 - 26 Dec 1991

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