Alexsei Kosygin

Alexsei Kosygin

Alexsei Kosygin was born in St. Petersburg in 1904. During the Civil War Kosygin served in the Red Army. In 1921 he entered the Petrograd Technical School and after he graduated in 1924 he worked in a consumers' cooperative in Siberia.

Kosygin joined the Communist Party (CPSU) in 1927. After a period studying at the Leningrad Textile Institute he found work as a director of the October Textile Factory.

In 1938 Kosygin was elected to the Supreme Soviet and the following year became a member of the Communist Party Central Committee.

During the Second World War Kosygin was given responsibility for evacuating factories to eastern areas of the Soviet Union. In 1941 he was a member of the State Defence Committee in Leningrad.

Kosygin joined the Politburo in 1948 but further progress was halted by clashing with Joseph Stalin and Nikita Khrushchev. When Khruschev was ousted in 1964 Kosygin became Chairman of the Council of Ministers.

Willy Brandt became Foreign Minister in the Federal Republic of Germany in 1966. He developed the policy of Ostpolitik (reconciliation between eastern and western Europe). Kosygin played an important role in negotiating with Brandt.

Over the next few years he was involved in negotiations with the United States and China.

Alexsei Kosygin died in 1980.

Primary Sources

(1) George Brown, In My Way (1971)

Kosygin, despite the almost gloomy look which he habitually wears, does in fact have a sense of humour, but the side of him that showed most was the suspicious side. He was always a total Communist Party official, and I think always suspicious not so much of other people as of what people in his own country might think of his gullibility if he really set out to indulge in the kind of discussion which might lead to a change of view. He was very much afraid of his own inadequacies if he went outside his brief. He was not, I would say, a big man, but a more than adequately tough party official.