Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index

Georgy Malenkov

Georgy Maksimilianovich Malenkov was born on January 13, 1902 in what was then part of the Russian Empire and is now Kazakhstan. He rose through the ranks of the Communist party of the Soviet Union, eventually becoming First Secretary of the Party upon the death of Stalin, but ultimately fell out of grace.

Malenkov became a comissar for the Red Army in 1919. He officially joined the party a year later, and became one of Josef Stalin's confidants. Together with Lavrenti Beria, Malenkov aided Stalin during the 1930 purges. He became a rival of Beria.

Named as candidate for the Politburo, Malenkov joined in 1946. Althoygh Malenkov fell out of favor in place of his rivals Andrei Zhdanov and Beria, he soon came back into Stalin's favor, especially because of Zhdanov's downfall. Beria soon joined Malenkov, and both of them saw all of Zhdanov's allies purged and sent to gulags. The death of Stalin in 1953 briefly brought Malenkov to the highest office he would ever get. As First Secretary of the Party, he saw Beria's criticism of Stalin's regime, but did not join him. Nikita Khrushchev soon replaced Malenkov, who was in a political downfall.

Malenkov retained the office of prime minister for two years. During these years, he was vocal about his opposition to nuclear armament, declaring "a nuclear war could lead to global destruction."

Forced to resign in February 1955, Malenkov remained in the Politburo's successor, the Presidium. However, in 1957 he was again forced to resign due to participation in a failed attempt together with Nikolai Bulganin, Vyacheslav Molotov, and Lazar Kaganovich to depose Khrushchev. In 1961, he was expelled from the Communist Party and exiled within the Soviet Union. Although he never rejoined the party, Malenkov remained a Communist. He became a manager of a hydroelectric plant in Kazakhstan and died in Moscow in January 14, 1988.

Preceded by:
Josef Stalin
List of leaders of the Soviet Union Succeeded by:
Nikita Khrushchev