Skip to content
Aleksey Kosygin at the UNGA.

Kosygin, Aleksey Nikolayevich 1904- 1980

Aleksey Kosygin was a politician and administrator in the Soviet Union. Kosygin was Premier of the USSR from 1964 to 1980.


Aleksey Kosygin at the UNGA.

Kosygin joined the Red Army in 1919 at the age of 15 and fought in the Russian Civil War. Afterwards, he received his education at the Leningrad Co-operative College and then worked in Siberia joining the Communist Party in 1927. In the 1930s he attended the Leningrad Textile Institute after which he worked as an engineer rising to become managing director of the Oktyabrskaya textile factory in Leningrad.

Stalin's Great Purge caused a number of openings in the party administration allowing Kosygin to enter full time party work in 1938 first as head of the Leningrad party's industrial and transport department and then as mayor of Leningrad. In 1939 he joined the Soviet cabinet as People's Commissar for the textile industry. That same year, Kosygin was elected to the Central Committee of the Communist Party. From 1940 to 1946 he was deputy chairman of the Council of People's Commissars of the USSR with responsibility for consumer industries. He also served as Premier of the Russian SFSR from 1943 to 1946.

After World War II, Kosygin became a candidate member of the Politburo becoming a full member in 1948. He briefly served as minister of finance of the USSR in 1948 and then as minister for light industry until 1953.

Following the death of Stalin in March 1953 Kosygin was demoted but as a staunch ally of Nikita Khrushchev his career soon turned around. He became chairman of the USSR State Committee for Planning in 1959 and then a full member of the Presidium (as the Politburo was now called) in 1960. When Khrushchev was dismissed as Soviet leader in October 1964, Kosygin took over Khrushchev's position as Soviet Premier in what initially was a troika with Leonid Brezhnev as General Secretary and Nikolay Podgorny as President.

Kosygin attempted to implement economic reforms to shift the emphasis in the Soviet economy from heavy industry and military production to light industry and the production of consumer goods. Brezhnev did not support this policy and stymied Kosygin's reforms. By the end of the decade Brezhnev had become the unquestioned leader of the USSR. While Kosygin retained his position as Premier and remained on the Politburo until 1980 his position became increasingly weak.

Kosygin fell ill and was dismissed from his positions in October 1980, mere weeks prior to his death.

Popular Documents

March 18, 1979

Telephone Conversation between Soviet Premier Alexei N. Kosygin and Afghan Premier Nur Mohammed Taraki

This conversation reveals the difficulty that the Afghan political leadership faced in establishing a government--despite substantial military aid and advice from the Soviet Union.

March 1, 1965

Zhou Enlai Talking to Ho Chi Minh

Zhou Enlai discusses new Soviet Party leadership, a joint statement of support of Vietnam from socialist countries and close observation of Soviet military activities.

September 19, 1969

Notes Kept during the Verbal Report given to the First Secretary of the CC of the PLA, Comrade Enver Hoxha, on 19 September 1969, by Comrade Rita Marko

The Albanian Party leadership discusses recent meetings with the Chinese Communist Party, the state of Sino-Soviet relations, and the funeral of Ho Chi Minh.

February 11, 1965

Minutes from a Conversation between A.N. Kosygin and Mao Zedong

The Soviet Union sent a delegation to the All-China Assembly of People's Representatives in Beijing. During this time, A.N. Kosygin and Mao Zedong discussed Vietnam including American military actions, Soviet assistance and support, and their socialist path. The conversation then moved towards a debate over spheres of military influence. The Soviets believed that they and the Chinese should unite to fight against American capitalism, but Mao stated that the Soviets should protect Europe and Chine should protect Asia. Other issues addressed included imperialism, Africa, the United Nations, foreign relations, and the concern over factions between communist states and internal factions within parties.

February 6, 1965

Record of the First Contact between Premier Zhou and Vice Premier Chen Yi and Kosygin

Premier Zhou and others meet to discuss the current situations in South Vietnam and Laos, U.S. and Soviet strategy, and Chinese-Soviet competition over civil aviation, among other pressing issues.