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Dmitri Fedorovich Ustinov

(b. 1908)

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(b. Samara (Kuibyshev), 30 Oct. 1908; d. Moscow, 20 Dec. 1984)

Russian; member of the Politburo 1965–84, Minister of Defence 1976–84 Ustinov was the son of working-class parents, and joined the Communist Party in 1927. Thereafter he worked as a fitter and machine operator. He received a technical education first from the Bauman Higher Technical School in Moscow, then entered the Leningrad Institute of Military Mechanical Engineering, from which he graduated in 1934. From then until the outbreak of the Second World War he worked in the Leningrad armaments industry, attaining the post of factory manager. In June 1941, after the German invasion of the Soviet Union, he was appointed People's Commissar (i.e. Minister), though he was only 32 years old. His outstanding achievement was to supervise the wholesale transfer of Soviet industrial plant from areas threatened by the Germans to east of the Urals. In 1952 he entered the Central Committee of the CPSU. In 1953 he left the Ministry of Armaments to serve as Minister of the Defence Industry until 1957. Then he became a deputy chairman of the Council of Ministers, and was appointed first deputy chairman in 1963. He retained a supervisory brief for the defence industry. In 1965 Brezhnev made Ustinov a secretary of the Central Committee, with oversight of the military, defence industry, and security organs. He became a candidate member of the Presidium (Politburo after 1966) that year and a full member in 1976. Later in 1976 Marshal Grechko suddenly died and Ustinov replaced him as Minister of Defence and was made Marshal of the Soviet Union, even though he was a civilian. Ustinov effectively represented the interests of the military-industrial complex as Soviet defence expenditure grew every year in the 1970s, while the defence industry was the most efficient sector of the economy. In 1976 Ustinov supported Soviet military intervention in Afghanistan.

Subjects: Social sciencesPolitics

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