How Vasily Kuznetsov was the head of the USSR three times
Vladimir Lenin, Joseph Stalin, Nikita Khrushchev - everyone knows about these and other leaders of the Soviet state. However, there was a person in the history of the USSR who led the country several times, but at the same time remained in the shadow. His name was Vasily Kuznetsov, and he formally held the top government post three times in the first half of the 1980s.
Vasily Kuznetsov was born in the Kostroma province in 1901. For a time, his biography was unremarkable: he served in the army, graduated from the Polytech, worked at the plant. In 1931 he went to the United States to study metallurgy at the Carnegie Institute of Technology.
Kuznetsov, unlearned in America, was rapidly moving up the career ladder: in 1940 he was already deputy chairman of the USSR State Planning Committee.
By the time Stalin died, Kostroma Nugget worked in the foreign policy department of the Central Committee of the CPSU. In February 1957, he almost became the head of Soviet diplomacy. Nikita Khrushchev asked Dmitry Shepilov, the outgoing chairman of the USSR Foreign Ministry, to recommend someone in his place. He proposed Yuri Andropov and Vasily Kuznetsov.Shepilov characterized the first as a “bulldog”, the second - as a “good girl”. Although Kuznetsov’s candidacy was more appropriate, Khrushchev still chose Andropov.
Nevertheless, Kuznetsov’s diplomatic career was developing successfully. He participated in resolving the Caribbean crisis, negotiated with China after the clashes on Damanski Island, and helped reconcile India with Pakistan.
"The Elder" from the Supreme Council
Those who knew Kuznetsov noted that he preferred to work with documents for a long time, he thoroughly delved into all the details. At the same time outside of work, he led a simple life, did not like to attract attention. It was Kuznetsov who was considered the right candidate for the post of first deputy chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Council, created in 1977, in fact, the second person in the state. At that time he was already 76 years old.
What was this post for? Before answering this question, it is necessary to recall the state structure of the USSR under the 1977 Constitution. Formally, the supreme body of power was the Supreme Council, which met twice a year (during the breaks, its duties were carried out by the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet). Its head was formally the head of state.He had a lot of responsibilities: from issuing decrees and making decisions to awarding orders and medals and other ceremonial events.
In a decrepit L.I. Brezhnev, who combined the posts of the General Secretary of the Central Committee of the CPSU and the Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Council, did not have enough forces for all this. Therefore, it was decided to introduce the post of deputy, who would be engaged in routine work.
King of fake
Since Kuznetsov was legally the second person in the state, he became the formal leader of the country after the death of Brezhnev in November 1982. Kuznetsov served as the leader of the state until mid-June 1983, when Yury Andropov was elected General Secretary. Incidentally, it was Kuznetsov who congratulated Soviet citizens on television on December 31, 1983.
In the meantime, the country has already entered the five-year period of “lush funerals”. "The Secretary General of Lubyanka" lasted until February 1984. Again, Kuznetsov became the formal leader. This time until April 1984, until the country was headed by Konstantin Chernenko, who later almost did not leave the hospital.
The last, third time, Kuznetsov was at the highest post after the death of Chernenko.At that moment, the deputy chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Council was already over 80, which made him one of the oldest leaders of the state in national history.
Despite his high position, Kuznetsov did not remain in people's memory. The fact is that the Supreme Council was for the most part a decorative body. Everything was decided in the party itself. Although she was not part of the system of government of the USSR, article 6 of the Constitution enshrined her leadership role. Therefore, the will of the Central Committee of the CPSU was the law for any constitutional body, including the Supreme Council, which in reality faced only one task - to clothe the instructions coming from the party in the form of laws.
Therefore, Kuznetsov did not remember anyone. His appearance on television in December 1983 was the last. In 1986, he retired, and a year before the collapse of the USSR quietly died in Moscow.
Vasily Vasilyevich KUZNETSOV
Russian statesman, diplomat, winner of the Stalin Prize (1941). Educated at the Leningrad Polytechnic Institute (1926). In 1920-1921 served in the Red Army. In 1927 he joined the VKP (b). He worked at the Makeevka plant, the head of the open-hearth shop. In 1933-1937Deputy Head, Head of Laboratory of the Electrostal Plant (Moscow Region). In the years 1937-1940. engineer, chief engineer Glavspetsstal. In 1940-1943 Deputy Chairman of the USSR State Planning Committee. At the same time during the Great Patriotic War in 1941-1943. deputy member of the State Defense Committee for Metallurgy. Supervised the organization of the release of special steel for military production. In 1943-1944 Chairman of the Central Committee of the Steel Workers' Union of the Center. Since 1944 the chairman of the All-Union Central Council of Trade Unions. In 1945-1953 member of the General Council of the Executive Committee and vice-president of the World Federation of Trade Unions. Since 1946, deputy of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, in 1950-1953. member of its Presidium. Since 1952 a member of the Central Committee of the CPSU, and since 10.16.1952 a candidate member of the Presidium of the Central Committee. After the death of I. V. Stalin, 6.3.1953, he was removed from the Presidium of the Central Committee and transferred to diplomatic work and appointed Deputy V. Molotov and Ambassador to China. In 1955-1977 1 st Deputy Foreign Minister under Molotov, D. T. Shepilov and A. A. Gromyko. In 1977 he was appointed 1st Vice-Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR and became a candidate member of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee. He was the official head of state for a short time after the death of L. I. Brezhnev, Yu. V.Andropov, K. U. Chernenko, and it was in his name that all telegrams with condolences from abroad arrived. With the arrival of Mikhail S. Gorbachev in 1986, he was dismissed for retirement.