Born: St. Petersburg, Russian Empire [now Russia]
Alexei Nikolayevich Kosygin (Алексе́й Никола́евич Косы́гин; – 18 December 1980) was a Soviet-Russian statesman during the Cold War. Kosygin was born in the city of Saint Petersburg in 1904 to a Russian working-class family. He was conscripted into the labour army during the Russian Civil War, and after the Red Armys demobilisation in 1921, he worked in Siberia as an industrial manager. Kosygin returned to Leningrad in the early 1930s and worked his way up the Soviet hierarchy. During the Great Patriotic War (World War II), Kosygin was a member of the State Defence Committee and was tasked with moving Soviet industry out of territories soon to be overrun by the German Army. He served as Minister of Finance for a year before becoming Minister of Light Industry (later, Minister of Light Industry and Food). Stalin removed Kosygin from the Politburo one year before his own death in 1953, intentionally weakening Kosygins position within the Soviet hierarchy.Stalin died in 1953, and on March, 20 1959 Kosygin was appointed to the position of Chairman of the State Planning Committee (Gosplan), a post he would hold for little more than a year. Kosygin next became First Deputy chairman of the Council of Ministers. When Nikita Khrushchev was removed from power in 1964, Kosygin and Leonid Brezhnev succeeded him as Premier and First Secretary respectively. Thereafter, Kosygin formed a troika with Brezhnev and Nikolai Podgorny, the Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet, that governed the Soviet Union in Khrushchevs place.During the latter half of the 1960s, Kosygin initially emerged as the most prominent figure in the post-Khrushchev troika. In addition to managing the Soviet Union’s economy, he assumed a preeminent role in the nation’s foreign policy by leading arms control talks with the US and directly overseeing relations with other communist countries. However, the onset of the Prague Spring in 1968 resulted in a severe backlash against his policies that enabled Brezhnev to eclipse him as the dominant figure in the Politburo. While he and Brezhnev disliked one another, he remained in office until being forced to retire on October 23, 1980, due to bad health. He died two months later on December 18, 1980.
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