Mikhail Suslov

Mikhail Andreyevich Suslov (Russian: Михаи́л Андре́евич Су́слов; 21 November [O.S. 8 November] 1902  25 January 1982) was a Soviet statesman during the Cold War. He served as Second Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1965, and as unofficial chief ideologue of the party until his death in 1982. Suslov was responsible for party democracy and power separation within the Communist Party. His hardline attitude resisting change made him one of the foremost orthodox communist Soviet leaders.

Mikhail Suslov
Михаил Суслов
Suslov in 1964
Second Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union
In office
6 December 1965  25 January 1982
Preceded byNikolai Podgorny
Succeeded byKonstantin Chernenko (de facto)
In office
14 September 1953  17 December 1957
Preceded byNikita Khrushchev
Succeeded byAlexei Kirichenko
Head of the International Department of the Central Committee
In office
16 April 1953  1954
Preceded byVahan Grigoryan
Succeeded byBoris Ponomarev
In office
13 April 1946  12 March 1949
Preceded byGeorgi Dimitrov
Succeeded byVahan Grigoryan
Additional positions
Head of the Propaganda Department of the Central Committee
In office
20 July 1949  27 October 1952
Preceded byDmitri Shepilov
Succeeded byNikolai Mikhailov
Editor-in-chief of Pravda
In office
Preceded byPyotr Pospelov
Succeeded byLeonid Ilichev
Head of the Propaganda and Agitation Department of the Central Committee
In office
17 September 1947  10 July 1948
Preceded byAndrei Zhdanov
Succeeded byPost abolished (merged into the Propaganda Department)
First Secretary of the Stavropol Regional Committee
In office
1939  November 1944
Preceded byDmitry Goncharov
Succeeded byAleksandr Orlov
Full member of the 19th, 20th–21st, 22nd, 23rd, 24th, 25th, 26th Politburo
In office
12 July 1955  25 January 1982
In office
16 October 1952  5 March 1953
Member of the 18th, 19th, 20th–21st, 22nd, 23rd, 24th, 25th, 26th Secretariat
In office
24 May 1947  25 January 1982
Member of the 18th Orgburo
In office
18 March 1946  14 October 1952
Personal details
Mikhail Andreyevich Suslov

(1902-11-21)21 November 1902
Shakhovskoye, Russian Empire
Died25 January 1982(1982-01-25) (aged 79)
Moscow, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union
Resting placeKremlin Wall Necropolis, Moscow
Political partyCPSU (1921–1982)
Yelizaveta Alexandrovna
(died 1972)
ResidenceKutuzovsky Prospekt
Alma materPlekhanov Russian University of Economics
  • Civil servant
  • economist
AwardsHero of Socialist Labor (twice)

Born in rural Russia in 1902, Suslov became a member of the All-Union Communist Party (Bolsheviks) in 1921 and studied economics for much of the 1920s. He left his job as a teacher in 1931 to pursue politics full-time, becoming one of the many Soviet politicians who took part in the mass repression begun by Joseph Stalin's regime. He was made First Secretary of Stavropol Krai administrative area in 1939. During World War II, Suslov headed the local Stavropol guerrilla movement.

After the war, Suslov became a member of the Organisational Bureau (Orgburo) of the Central Committee in 1946. In June 1950, he was elected to the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet. From 16 October 1952 onwards, he was a full member of the 19th Presidium of the CPSU. In the ensuing shuffle of the Soviet leadership following Stalin's death, Suslov lost much of the recognition and influence he had previously earned. However, by the late 1950s, he had risen to become the leader of the party opposition to First Secretary Nikita Khrushchev. When Khrushchev was ousted in 1964, Suslov supported the establishment of a collective leadership. He also supported inner-party democracy and opposed the reestablishment of the one-man rule as seen during the Stalin and Khrushchev eras. During the Brezhnev era, Suslov was considered to be the party's chief ideologue and second-in-command. His death on 25 January 1982 is viewed as starting the battle to succeed Leonid Brezhnev as general secretary.

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