Skip to main content

Bulganin, Nikolai Alexandrovich


(18951975), political and military leader.

Nikolai Bulganin was a marshal of the Red Army who rose to the position of Soviet Prime Minister (19551958) under Nikita Khrushchev. Bulganin made his career mainly as a security and military official, but he was also an urban administrator. As mayor of Moscow (19311937) at a time when the capital was undergoing rapid expansion, he collaborated closely with Khrushchev in the construction of such enduring symbols of Stalinist urbanization as the Moscow metro. Bulganin's career benefited from the purges (19371938). Despite his lack of military training, Josef Stalin actively promoted him as a party commissar to oversee the military. He eventually joined Stalin's war cabinet in 1944. In 1947 he succeeded Stalin as minister for the armed forces and was promoted to marshal. A year later he joined the Politburo. Shortly after Stalin's death (1953), he was appointed minister of defense. In the ensuing political confrontation with secret police chief Lavrenti Beria, Bulganin sided with his friend Khrushchev, ensuring the military's loyalty. Bulganin's subsequent support for Khrushchev against Georgy Malenkov, who was advocating reduced spending on heavy industry, led to Bulganin's appointment as prime minister. In this post he actively supported Khrushchev's attempts to defuse tensions with the West, over both Germany, and Yugoslavia. But he always played second fiddle to party boss Khrushchev. A year after Bulganin sided with the Stalinist Anti-Party Group against Khrushchev (1957), he was dismissed as both prime minister and marshal. Relegated to a minor economic post, he subsequently retired in 1960.

See also: khrushchev, nikita sergeyevich


Khrushchev, Nikita. (1974). Khrushchev Remembers: The Last Testament, tr. and ed. Strobe Talbott. London: Andre Deutsch.

Taubman, William; Khrushchev, Sergei; and Gleason, Abbott, eds. (2000). Nikita Khrushchev. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

Roger D. Markwick

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Bulganin, Nikolai Alexandrovich." Encyclopedia of Russian History. . 16 Feb. 2019 <>.

"Bulganin, Nikolai Alexandrovich." Encyclopedia of Russian History. . (February 16, 2019).

"Bulganin, Nikolai Alexandrovich." Encyclopedia of Russian History. . Retrieved February 16, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.