Alexei Rykov


Alexei Rykov

Infobox Officeholder
name = Alexei Rykov Алексей Рыков

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nationality = Russian
order = Chairman of the Council of People's Commissars
term_start = February 2, 1924
term_end = December 19, 1930
predecessor = Vladimir Lenin
successor = Vyacheslav Molotov
birth_date = birth date|1881|2|25|mf=y
birth_place = Saratov, Imperial Russia
death_date = death date and age|1938|3|15|1881|2|25|mf=y
death_place = Moscow, USSR
profession =
party =

Alexei Ivanovich Rykov (Russian: Алексей Иванович Рыков, "Aleksej Ivanovič Rykov"; OldStyleDate|February 25|1881|February 13ndash March 15, 1938) was a Russian Marxist revolutionary and Soviet politician,soviet head of the government between 1924-1930.

Early life

Rykov was born in Saratov in 1881 to a peasant family.

Political Activity

He joined the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party (RSDLP) in 1898 and supported its Bolshevik faction when the party split into Bolsheviks and Mensheviks at its Second Congress in 1903. Rykov worked as a Bolshevik agent in Moscow and Saint Petersburg and played an active role in the Russian Revolution of 1905. He was elected a member of the Party's Central Committee at its 3rd Congress (boycotted by the Mensheviks) in London in 1905 and its 4th, Unification, Congress in Copenhagen in 1906. He was elected candidate (non-voting) member of the Central Committee at the 5th Congress in London.

Rykov supported Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin in his struggle with Alexander Bogdanov for the leadership of the Bolshevik faction in 1908–1909 and voted to expel Bogdanov at the June 1909 mini-conference in Paris. However, he parted ways with Lenin over the latter's attempt to form a separate party based on the Bolshevik faction in 1912. The dispute was interrupted by Rykov's exile to Siberia.

Civil War

Rykov returned from Siberia after the February Revolution of 1917 and re-joined the Bolsheviks, although he remained skeptical of their more radical inclinations. He became a member of the Petrograd Soviet and the Moscow Soviet. At the 6th Congress of Bolshevik Party in July-August 1917 he was elected to the Central Committee. During the October Revolution of 1917 he was a member of the Military Revolutionary Committee in Moscow.

After the revolution, Rykov was appointed People's Commissar (minister) of the Interior. On October 29, 1917 (Old Style), immediately after the Bolshevik seizure of power, the executive committee of the national railroad labor union, "Vikzhel", threatened a national strike unless the Bolsheviks shared power with other socialist parties and dropped Lenin and Leon Trotsky from the government. Grigory Zinoviev, Lev Kamenev, and their allies in the Bolshevik Central Committee argued that the Bolsheviks had no choice but to start negotiations since a railroad strike would cripple their government's ability to fight the forces that were still loyal to the overthrown Provisional Government. Although Zinoviev, Kamenev and Rykov briefly had the support of a Central Committee majority and negotiations were started, a quick collapse of the anti-Bolshevik forces outside Petrograd allowed Lenin and Trotsky to convince the Central Committee to abandon the negotiating process. In response, Zinoviev, Kamenev, Alexei Rykov, Vladimir Milyutin, and Victor Nogin resigned from the Central Committee and from the government on November 4, 1917 (Old Style).

On April 3, 1918, Rykov was appointed Chairman of the Supreme Council of National Economy and served in that capacity throughout the Russian Civil War. On July 5, 1919, he also became a member of the reorganized Revolutionary Military Council, where he remained until October 1919. From July 1919 and until August 1921, he was also a special representative of the Council of Labor and Defense for food supplies for the Red Army and Navy. Rykov was elected to the Communist Party Central Committee on April 5, 1920 after the 9th Party Congress and became a member of its Orgburo, where he remained until May 23, 1924.

Post Civil War

Once the Bolsheviks emerged victorious in the civil war, Rykov resigned his Supreme Council of National Economy post on May 28, 1921. [See Anthony Heywood. "Modernising Lenin's Russia: Economic Reconstruction, Foreign Trade and the Railways", Cambridge University Press, 1999, ISBN 0-521-62178-X p.180.] On May 26, 1921 he was appointed Deputy Chairman of the Council of Labor and Defense of the RSFSR under Lenin. With Lenin increasingly sidelined by ill health, Rykov became his deputy at the Sovnarkom (Council of People's Commissars) on December 29. Rykov joined the ruling Politburo on April 3, 1922, after the 11th Party Congress. A government reorganization in the wake of the formation of the Soviet Union in December 1922 resulted in Rykov's appointment as Chairman of the USSR Supreme Council of National Economy and Deputy Chairman of the USSR Council of People's Commissars on July 6, 1923.

After Lenin's death on January 21, 1924, Rykov gave up his position as Chairman of the USSR Supreme Council of National Economy and became Chairman of the Council of People's Commissars of the USSR and, simultaneously, of the Sovnarkom of the RSFSR, on February 2, 1924. Lenin's other government post, that of the Chairman of the USSR Council of Labor and Defense, was taken over by his other deputy, Lev Kamenev.

Along with Nikolai Bukharin and Mikhail Tomsky, Rykov led the moderate wing of the Communist Party in the 1920s, promoting a partial restoration of the market economy under NEP policies. The moderates supported Joseph Stalin, Grigory Zinoviev, and Lev Kamenev against Leon Trotsky and the Left Opposition in 1923-1924. After Trotsky's defeat and Stalin's break with Zinoviev and Kamenev in 1925, Rykov, Bukharin and Tomsky supported Stalin against the United Opposition of Trotsky, Zinoviev and Kamenev in 1926–1927. After Kamenev's attack on Stalin at the 14th Party Congress in December 1925, he lost his chairmanship of the USSR Council of Labor and Defense, which was assumed by Rykov on January 19, 1926.

talin in Power

Once the United Opposition was defeated in December 1927, Stalin adopted more radical policies and came into conflict with the moderate wing of the party. The two factions maneuvered behind the scenes throughout 1928. In February–April 1929 the conflict came to a head and the moderates, branded the Right Opposition or "Rightists", were defeated and forced to "admit their mistakes" in November 1929. Rykov lost his post as chairman of the Sovnarkom of the Russian Federation on May 18, 1929, but retained his other two posts. In December 1930, after another round of "admitting his mistakes", Rykov lost his Politburo post on December 21, 1930. He was replaced by Vyacheslav Molotov as Sovnarkom chairman and chairman of the USSR Council of Labor and Defense on December 19, 1930.

On May 30, 1931, Rykov was appointed People's Commissar (minister) of Post and Telegraph, a position that he continued to occupy after the Commissariat was reorganized as People's Commissariat of Communications in January 1932. On February 10, 1934, he was demoted to a candidate (non-voting) member of the Party's Central Committee. On September 26, 1936, in the wake of accusations made at the first Moscow Show Trial of Kamenev and Zinoviev and Tomsky's suicide, Rykov lost his position as People's Commissar of Communications, but retained his membership in the Central Committee.

As Stalin's Great Purge intensified in early 1937, Rykov and Bukharin were expelled from the Communist Party and arrested at the February–March 1937 meeting of the Central Committee on February 27. In March 1938, Rykov, along with Bukharin, Genrikh Yagoda, Nikolai Krestinsky and Christian Rakovsky, was tried at the third Moscow Show Trial on charges of having plotted with Trotsky against Stalin. Like the other defendants, Rykov was found guilty of treason and executed. The Soviet government annulled the verdict during perestroika in 1988.

Notes

References

* [http://www.archontology.org/nations/ussr/ussr_govt/rykov.php Rykov's biography at Archontology.org]


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