Nikolai Ivanovich Ryzhkov


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(b. Donetsk region, Ukraine, 1929)

Russian; Soviet premier 1985–90 From the 1950s to the mid-1970s Ryzhkov worked for Uralmash, the vast engineering complex at Sverdlovsk. He rose from being a skilled worker to general manager of Uralmash as a whole in the period 1971 to 1975. He joined the Communist Party in 1956. In 1975 he embarked on a governmental career when he moved to Moscow as First Deputy Minister for Heavy and Transport Machine-Building. In 1979 under Brezhnev he was first deputy chairman of the state's five-year plan (Gosplan). In 1982 Andropov made him a secretary of the Party's Central Committee and head of its economic department. In April 1985, after Gorbachev had become General Secretary of the CPSU, Ryzhkov was made full member of the Politburo. In September 1985 he became chairman of the Council of Ministers, replacing the elderly Brezhnevite, Tikhonov. In this capacity he gained widespread respect for his integrity and industry, despite the failure of Gorbachev's economic reforms with which he was associated. In economic affairs he stood for cautious reform. In 1989 he became a member of the newly created Congress of People's Deputies, and the next year entered the Presidential Council of the USSR which Gorbachev had just formed. In June 1991 he was defeated by Boris Yeltsin in the Russian Presidential elections. Initially he returned to a business career. However, in 1993 he was elected to the Duma, becoming first deputy speaker. He became a member of the Federal Council (the upper house of the Russian assembly) for the Belgorod region. In 2007 he was appointed chairman of the Natural Monopolies Commission of the Council.

Subjects: Politics.

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