Kuybyshev, Valerian Vladimirovich

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(18881935), Bolshevik, politician, Stalinist, active in civil war and subsequent industrialization initiatives.

Active in the Social Democratic Party from 1904, Valerian Kuybyshev was an Old Bolshevik who played a major role in the Russian Civil War as a political commissar with the Red Army. Having fought on the Eastern Front against the forces of Admiral Kolchak, he was instrumental in consolidating Soviet power in Central Asia following the civil war. Kuybyshev subsequently held several important political posts: chairman of the Central Control Commission (1923); chairman of the Supreme Council of the Soviet Economy (1926); member of the Politburo (1927); chairman of Gos-plan (1930); and deputy chairman of both the Council of People's Commissars and Council of Labor and Defense (1930).

A staunch Stalinist throughout the 1920s, Kuybyshev advocated rapid industrialization and supported Stalin in the struggle against the Right Opposition headed by Nikolai Bukharin. Kuybyshev's organizational skills and boundless energy were critical in launching the First Five-Year Plan in 1928. However, in the early 1930s Kuybyshev became associated with a moderate bloc in the Politburo who opposed some of Stalin's more repressive political policies.

Kuybyshev died suddenly on January 26, 1935, ostensibly of a heart attack, but there is some speculation that he may have been murdered by willful medical mistreatment on the orders of Gen-rich Yagodaan early purge following the assassination of Sergei Kirov. Whatever the actual circumstances of his death, he was given a state funeral, and the city of Samara was renamed in his honor.

See also: civil war of 19171922; industrialization, rapid; red army; right opposition; stalin, josef vissarionovich.


Conquest, Robert. (1990). The Great Terror: A Reassessment. New York: Oxford University Press.

Kuibyshev, V. V. (1935). Personal Recollections. Moscow.

Kate Transchel