Cult of the Constructors
Aviation Chief Designers
Aero Engine Chief Designers
Land Combat Chief Designers
Tactical Missile Chief Designers
Shipbuilding Chief Designers
Rockets and Space
The years after Khrushchev were notable for the "stability of cadres" in the party and state apparatus. By introducing the slogan "Trust in Cadres" in 1965, Brezhnev won the support of many bureaucrats wary of the constant reorganizations of the Khrushchev era and eager for security in established hierarchies. During this period, it is nearly impossible to write a history of any major enterprise, bureau or institute in the Soviet defense industrial complex without writing a biography of the leading figure of that entity. Tenures of leadership stretched into decades, and the trajectory of the enterprise was intimately linked with that of the leader himself. Some hold the view that men make history, that it was important who ruled in the Soviet Union, that institutions, as strong as they were in totalitarian countries, were inevitably been overcome by the leaders.
When it came to success, the emphasis was on the individual. The general or chief designer determined a lot, but his talent was to create a capable team, one that, when faced with real difficulties (and no development can do without them), will not crumble, will not be afraid, but will end up bringing the idea to fruition.
But if a large number of specialists in various fields of engineering are engaged in developinga very complex technical system, such as a space project or a power generation system, which consists of diverse units, the coordination of engineering becomes a very difficult engineering and scientific task. It takes special, interdisciplinary experts to carry it through. Such are, for instance, a chief designer, or research coordinator, and the like. Such an expert must have both a general idea of the whole system under development as well as an in-depth specialized knowledge. His primary function is to coordinate and direct the execution of all the tasks involved in the project. Alexander Raspletin (Chief Designer of KB-1 and Developer of the Air defence system near Moscow and anti-aircraft missiles, later a member of the USSR Academy of Sciences) provided a striking example of organizational engineering activity.
Academician O.M. Belotserkovsky (Soviet mathematician, expert in theoretical and applied aerodynamics and computational mathematics) said of the Chief Designer of the large-scale missile and spacecraft systems Sergei Korolev: “Hundreds of thousands of people took part directly in the development of Soviet cosmonautics, and among them were many deep thinkers, penetrating theoreticians, excellent designers, bold experimenters, strong-willed organizers, and diligent workers. All of them made their contribution, and all these efforts were directed to their common goal by Korolev, the chief designer of missile and spacecraft systems, who worked in close cooperation withleading scientists from the USSR Academy of Sciences... with members of the council of chief designers heading tie ‘various space and missile systems’ development projects, and with major production managers... His organizational talent enabled him to unite and channel the activities of numerous research and development institutions regardless of their departmental subordination. Owing to his purposefulness, he was able to inspire the participants in the project and win them over to his ideas. He in person could secure a quick decision at all levels, convince his colleagues, and find jointly acceptable solutions”.
With the end of the Cold War, the curtain of secrecy began to lift. Today, some of the chief designers are the subject of one or more books describing their life and work. Some remain little more than a one page resume of their career, suitable perhaps for a job application, but little more. One biography of Lieutenant-General Vladimir Ivanovich MARKOV, who was active in the Ministery of Radio Industry, consists almost entirely of an acccount of his heroic exploits during the Great Patriotic War, giving only a sentence to his work on the Moscow ABM system. And some have simply vanished without a trace [notably Alexander Alexandrovich Terentyev]. The brief biographies tend to provide little to no texture to the lives and labors of their subject. Others with a more voluminous treatment are obscured by a nimbus of adulation more properly called hagiography than biography, with some acquiring implausible thaumaturgical details [did Grushin's dog really die on the same day as Grushin himself??].
The cult of veneration of Christian saints was an integral part of the “symphony” of church and state — a term of sixth-century Byzantine origin - that characterized Imperial Russia. Immediately after coming to power, the Bolsheviks began to fight religious cults, but not only destroyed the symbols and rituals that existed before them, but created new, Soviet ones in their place. The most important event for the Soviet culture of the 1920s was the death of Vladimir Lenin, after which in a matter of weeks his full-scale cult arose. In the mid-1920s, cults of various strengths and scales arose around the other prominent Bolsheviks.
The phrase "personality cult" has been used since the 1950s to characterize the regime established in the USSR and the CPSU I. Stalin. "The cult of personality" was an element of the totalitarian regime. The praise of Stalin’s personality and the “cult” of his personality began as early as the 1920s. There was an almost religious-ecstatic reaction to the performances or the appearance of Stalin in public was a typical phenomenon for the Soviet society of the 1930s.
Stalin was only one of many - both in his own country and in the world. In addition to him, the late revolutionaries-communists Marx, Engels and their successor, the founder of the Soviet state, Lenin, were considered the “leaders of progressive humanity” in the USSR. There were “living gods”, a rank lower - party and state leaders of the USSR Vyacheslav Molotov, Clement Voroshilov, Lazar Kaganovich and others. The “cult of personality” extended to local communist leaders, although it was inferior in scope to Stalin.
In 1956, Nikita Khrushchev made a report in which he exposed the personality cult of Stalin. But under Brezhnev, the “cult of personality” took on comic forms when the aging General Secretary of the Central Committee of the CPSU was awarded all the new top awards that could barely be placed on the chest.
In the world of high technology, there was a cult of chief and general designers. And this approach allowed achieving goals in the shortest possible time. The protagonist triumphantly and stately marches from scene to scene, and the rest of the characters are only extras, designed to emphasize his greatness. But according to the Marxist doctrine, the individual person had no fundamental significance, the classes that entered the struggle played the main roles at the forefront of history.
Hagiography vs Biography
It had been customary from ancient times to classify the Old Testament in three divisions, called the Law, the Prophets and the Hagiography. The Law and the Prophets contain the historical books, as well as those that are distinctly legal or didactic. The name Hagiography means simply Holy Writings, and, in its use in reference to these portions of the Bible, indicates those books which are to be regarded as sacred, though they do not reveal either the commandments or the messages given by the prophets. They have one feature in common; each one of them sets forth some one phase of applied religion, one special virtue or peculiar moral excellence. Taken together they give a complete and harmonious scheme of righteous conduct, an ideal character.
Hagiography is to-day the province of the historian, who must, even more carefully in the history of the saints than in other historical questions, test the value of the sources of the reports. Only thus will it be possible to arrive at the fundamental question of all hagiography, the question of miracles in history. Are matters, which the modern man is inclined to take as legend, authentically vouched for, or are they met with only in doubtful sources?
The point to be emphasised from the outset is the distinction between hagiography and history. The work of the hagiographer may be historical, but it is not necessarily so. It may assume any literary form suitable to the glorification of the saints, from an official record adapted to the use of the faithful, to a poetical composition of the most exuberant character wholly detached from reality. It is obvious that no one would venture to assert that everywhere and at all times hagiographers have submitted themselves to strict historical canons.
Progress in scientific hagiography has given rise to more than one misunderstanding. Historical criticism when applied to the lives of the Catholic saints had certain results which were in no way surprising to those accustomed to handling documents and interpreting inscriptions, but which had a somewhat disturbing effect on the mind of the general public.
Religious-minded people who regarded with equal veneration not only the saints themselves but everything associated with them, had been greatly agitated by certain conclusions assumed by them to have been inspired by the revolutionary spirit that has penetrated even into the Church, and to be highly derogatory to the honor of the heroes of our faith. This conviction frequently finds utterance in somewhat violent terms. Those who suggest that the biographer of a saint has been unequal to his task, or that he had not professed to write as a historian, are accused of attacking the saint himself, who, it appears, is too powerful to allow himself to be compromised by an indiscreet panegyrist. Those who venture doubt concerning certain miraculous incidents repeated by the author on insufficient evidence, although well calculated to enhance the glory of the saint, are at once suspected of lack of faith.
Such historians are told they are introducing the spirit of rationalism into history, as though in questions of fact it were not above all things essential to weigh the evidence. How often has not an accusation of destructive criticism been flung, and men treated as iconoclasts, whose sole object had been to appraise at their true value the documents which justify our attitude of veneration, and who are only too happy when able to declare that one of God’s friends had been fortunate enough to find a historian worthy of his task.
One might have thought that this simple analysis of the attitude of suspicion which so many devout souls assume in regard to historical criticism would suffice to demonstrate the injustice of their prejudices. Unhappily, it is less easy than might be supposed to efface an impression which, as they think, can only have been inspired by piety. Many readers are not sufficiently on their guard against the vague sentiment which endows hagiographers with some mysterious privilege of immunity from the errors of human frailty to which all other categories of writers are liable.
To give assistance in detecting materials of inferior workmanship is not to deny the excellence of what remains, and it is to the ultimate advantage of the harvest to point out the tares that have sometimes become mingled with the wheat to a most disconcerting extent. The simple narrative of heroic days, written, as it were, with pens dipped in the blood of martyrs, the naive histories, sweet with the perfume of true piety, in which eye-witnesses relate the trials of virgins and of ascetics, deserve our fullest admiration and respect.
For that very reason they must be clearly differentiated from the extensive class of painfully-elaborated biographies in which the features of the saint are hidden by a heavy veil of rhetoric, and his voice overborne by that of his chronicler.
The New Soviet Man
The whole life that arose after the revolutionary upheavals and the Civil War of the Soviet country was permeated with the expectation of the onset of a new, communist world. At the same time it was obvious that for the advance of communism, not only new production relations and technology are necessary. Communism also needs a new man — born in the revolutionary element and capable of generating a new society — and at the same time becoming a part of it. Actually, Marx said that as a result of the revolution, not only the proletariat will change the world around itself, but a change in the people themselves will occur, a new personality will be born.
There was no strictly definite idea of exactly how this ideal new person should look like, among the Bolsheviks did not exist. But on the whole, it was clear to contemporaries that this is a conscious person, a collectivist who puts the general above the particular, that he is physically and intellectually harmoniously developed. Every ideological communist had to strive to become such a person.
The longed-for new man had to be strictly dressed, restrained in behavior, thorough in conversation and highly moral in intimate relationships. In the sphere of action, he was supposed to be hard-working, with a high degree of self-discipline, emotionally restrained and absolutely loyal to his superiors, the party and the state, but at the same time he must be full of energy and strive for success. The main thing, however, was unconditional obedience to orders. Until the very fall of the regime, the Soviet leaders continued to strengthen the rigor of the criteria of behavior that everyone externally respected. The imposition of this model on all citizens of the country, without exception, from the very beginning was the primary task of the Communist Party.
V.I. Lenin saw in Socialist emulation or socialist competition a powerful means of developing creative initiative and amateur activities of the masses, identifying organizational talents and involving the working people in government. An important means of recognizing the achievements of the best teams that have achieved great success in socialist competition over the years is moral and material incentives; the names of the foremost production are entered in the Books of Labor Glory, their portraits are placed on the Boards of Honor, and cash prizes are issued. Departmental awards are also used to encourage the best workers and innovators: Diplomas of Ministries and the Central Committee of Trade Unions, the marks of “Excellent Socialist Competition” and others.
Hero of Socialist Labor
The title of Hero of Socialist Labor was the highest degree of distinction of the USSR, like the title of Hero of the Soviet Union, and in many respects it is similar to it. Both titles had similar provisions, insignia, order of presentation and awarding, as well as a list of benefits. But the title of Hero of Socialist Labor was not conferred on foreign citizens, unlike the title of Hero of the Soviet Union and on all other Soviet awards. In the history of assigning the title of Hero of Socialist Labor, there are clear trends in encouraging and encouraging work in areas of science, technology and production where the Soviet state was lagging behind the "capitalist environment".
The title of Hero of Socialist Labor and the Statute of the title were established by Decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR of December 27, 1938. The text of the Provision stated that "the title of Hero of Socialist Labor is conferred to persons who, with their particularly distinguished innovative activities in industry, agriculture, transport, trade, scientific discoveries and technical inventions, showed exceptional services to the Soviet state, contributed to the advancement of the national economy, science and culture , the growth of power and glory of the USSR ". The provision also established that "The Hero of Socialist Labor is awarded: the highest award of the USSR - the Order of Lenin; a diploma of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR".
It must be said that the term "labor hero" appeared in 1921, when hundreds of the best workers in Petrograd and Moscow were so named. This term was met in newspapers, affixed to diplomas awarded to advanced workers, and in 1922 was placed on the sign of the Order of the Red Banner of Labor of the RSFSR (see the section "Awards of the Soviet Republics"). In 1927, on the eve of the 10th anniversary of the October armed uprising, by the Resolution of the Central Executive Committee of the USSR (CEC - the then parliament of the country) and the Council of People's Commissariats of the USSR (the so-called government) of July 27, the Title "Hero of Labor" was established, which could be awarded " to persons who have special merit "and have worked for at least 35 years. This title was conferred by the Presidium of the CEC of the USSR or the Federal Republic.
The title of Hero of Socialist Labor grew out of the two previous ones, but along with the diploma was awarded the Order of Lenin, as well as the Hero of the Soviet Union, while the Heroes of Social Work also did not originally have a special distinction. Such a sign - the "Hammer and Sickle" gold medal - was established by the Decree of May 22, 1940 "On additional insignia for Heroes of Socialist Labor". As in the similar title document of the Hero of the Soviet Union dated October 16, 1993. This Decree determined the possibility of awarding the Hero of Socialist Labor with this medal for the second and third time (no more), and found that a bronze bust was constructed twice in the homeland of the Hero of Social Work. and in honor of the three times Hero of Socialist Labor, a bust is installed near the Palace of Soviets, which was then constructed in Moscow and was not completed.
In 1973, the Decree of 14.5 approved the Regulations on the ranks of the Hero of Socialist Labor and the Hero of the Soviet Union in a new edition. The provision determined that "the title of Hero of Socialist Labor is the highest degree of distinction for merits in the field of economic and socio-cultural construction" and "is assigned to persons who have shown labor heroism, with their particularly distinguished labor activity made a significant contribution to improving the efficiency of social production, promoted the rise national economy, science, culture, growth of power and glory of the USSR ". The limitation in the number of re-awards with the Hammer and Sickle medal that has existed since 1940 (not more than 3 times in all) was removed, but this step remained unused: no one became the Hero of Socialist Labor four times. At the same time, the Regulations introduced the procedure for awarding the Order of Lenin with each awarding the Sickle and Hammer medal. The latter was clearly done under the then party and state leaders who loved to decorate themselves with all sorts of awards. The provision also affirmed that if the Hero of Socialist Labor is also a Hero of the Soviet Union, then a bronze bust is also being built in his homeland, as if he were twice the Hero of Social Work. In addition, the Regulation approved the list of benefits to Heroes established earlier.
In the summer of 1949, the USSR successfully tested its first atomic bomb, and the title of Hero of Social Work was awarded to a group of its creators. In 1954, the first Heroes of Socialist Labor who were awarded three times for the successful first hydrogen bomb in the world — all the same six people who were first awarded in 1949 for creating an atomic bomb. At the same time, along with them, his first medal "Hammer and Sickle" (of the future three) was given to A.D. Sakharov. In the same year, another new tendency was outlined: the assignment of the title of Hero of Social Labor to a party leader for his birthday. None other than N.S. Khrushchev, who received the first Sickle and Hammer medal for his 60th birthday. Perhaps he simply repeated the experience of Stalin (1939). But subsequent awards Khrushchev second (1957) and the third (! ) (1961) the “Hammer and Sickle” medals were clearly “pioneering”: before it, none of the party leaders was not only three times, but twice a Hero. Assigning to him the title of Hero of the Soviet Union in 1964 turned Khrushchev into a operetta figure, which in the 70s LI became. Brezhnev, who, apparently, was not the first chronologically hunter to awards.
The disintegration of the communist ideology under Brezhnev was expressed, in particular, in the practice of conferring the title of Hero of Socialist Labor. Thus, there has been a tendency to have a Hero of Social Labor at every mine, at every factory, at every large collective and state farm. These people often had real merits, but, since they were supposed to be the "beacons" of the next five years, they were selected according to personal data, often leaving no less deserving candidates without awards. The party nomenclature received gold stars almost automatically: to the 60th (or) 70th anniversary of the birth.
This Decree on conferring one of the most honorable awards of the USSR turned into a farce, humiliating for all who had a true idea of the contribution of these people to the development of jet technology and to the meaning of such a notion as the "highest degree of difference" of the state. In 1991, this title was permanently abolished along with the USSR award system.
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