Podgorny, Nikolai Viktorovich

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(19031983), party and government leader.

Nikolai Podgorny rose to political prominence under Nikita Khrushchev in the 1950s, only to play a key role in his ousting in October 1964. Ukrainian by birth and an engineer by vocation, Podgorny started his career in the Ukrainian sugar industry in the 1930s. Throughout the war he held a number of posts responsible for food production, particularly in the Ukraine, where he developed close links with Khrushchev. After the war, his career path shifted to the party. By 1953, the year Josef Stalin died, he was Second Secretary of the Ukrainian Communist Party. Podgorny's star rose as Khrushchev rose to power. In 1956, the year Khrushchev denounced Stalin, Podgorny was elected to the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) Central Committee. Khrushchev personally nominated him for Ukrainian Communist Party First Secretary in 1957 and for the powerful post of CPSU Central Committee Secretary in 1963, by which time he was also a full member of the CPSU's leading body, the Presidium. While somewhat conservative, Podgorny was an enthusiastic supporter of some of Khrushchev's more "hare-brained schemes" (the accusation used to justify his dismissal in October 1964), such as the division of the party into industrial and agricultural sections. Nevertheless, Podgorny, like almost all Khrushchev's Ukrainian appointees, turned against his patron, colluding with Leonid Brezhnev in seeking Central Committee support to remove Khrushchev as party First Secretary. Podgorny went on to become Soviet head of state, but rivalry with party secretary Brezhnev saw his demise in 1977.

See also: brezhnev, leonid ilich; chancellery system; khrushchev, nikita sergeyevich


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

Tompson, William J. (1995). Khrushchev: A Political Life. Houndmills, Basingstoke, UK: Macmillan with St Antony's College, Oxford.

Roger D. Markwick

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Nikolai Viktorovich Podgorny

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