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Vasily Ryabikov

Vasily Ryabikov"Does this person ever sleep? Or, perhaps, people like Ryabikov are given special pills from the Kremlin pharmacy so that they can work as long as they need to and not sleep? .." - these are lines from the memoirs of one of the creators of the USSR anti-missile defense. And we are not talking about the days of the war, but about the outwardly quite peaceful time of the middle of the last century. But, as we see, that time for some special people in terms of tension was not much inferior to the military one ...

Vasily Mikhailovich Ryabikov led the key branches of Soviet military science and industry in the most terrible and fateful years of the 20th century. But writing about him is not easy, even difficult - the exploits of soldiers and generals are understandable, the merits of designers and inventors are quite understandable, it is much more difficult to evaluate and explain the merits and even the exploits of those whom we today call the hackneyed word "manager".

Vasily Ryabikov was just such a manager - an effective manager - during the Great Patriotic War and the Cold War. But - we repeat - in contrast to the exploits of ordinary soldiers and commanders, from the successes of designers and scientists, his "managerial" feat is almost unknown. Contemporaries did not know about him, and descendants almost forgot about him.

Vasily Ryabikov was born in the village of Ostretsovo, Kostroma province, on the first day of 1907 - after the change of historical eras, his place of birth turned out to be in the Ivanovo region, and January 14 became his birthday according to the current calendar. The parents of our hero, yesterday's peasants, worked at a weaving factory - the lands of the modern Ivanovo region throughout the 20th century were the main center of the domestic weaving industry.

In 1914, the parents of little Vasya were fired from the factory for participating in a workers' strike. The father had to travel to distant cities in search of work, and the mother returned to her native village. It was there, almost 300 km northeast of Moscow, that the family of the future general lived through the difficult years of the revolutions, the World War and the Civil War.

From the age of 17, Vasily Ryabikov became a laborer at a textile factory, where his parents had previously worked. In other times, he, most likely, would have remained a simple hard worker, a proletarian, but the scrapping of epochs and the emergence of a socialist state brought not only difficulties and political upheavals - new prospects, rapid social lifts opened up for many children of ordinary peasants and workers. Vasily Ryabikov early joined the Komsomol, an organization of young communists, and in 1925 at the age of 18 he became a member of the CPSU (b). As his later life shows, he shared the ideas of the Bolsheviks quite sincerely and with conviction.

The state, just in those years that began accelerated industrialization, needed competent technical personnel. And the young communist was sent to study - since 1929, the former weaver became a student at the Leningrad Technological Institute (today it is St. Petersburg State Technical University).

Students in those years became not so much by their own choice and not even by the results of exams, but by direction from government agencies and the ruling party. But the choice of a candidate for study in the person of a former weaver turned out to be successful. Ryabikov was clearly a diligent and quick-witted student of higher education - at the same time he also received education at the Leningrad Mechanical Institute (today it is the famous Baltic State Technical University "Voenmekh"). Since 1933, he served military service in the army, after which he again plunged into his studies - he became a cadet of the Naval Academy all in the same place, in the city on the Neva.

Unfortunately, Vasily Ryabikov did not leave memoirs; little is known about his childhood, youth, and student years. Since 1937, Vasily began working as a design engineer at the Bolshevik plant, the former Obukhov plant - one of the largest industrial high-tech enterprises in the Russian Empire, the USSR, and the modern Russian Federation. By that time, as the reader must have already understood, the 30-year-old engineer Ryabikov had a solid technical education, especially since in Russia, not all adults could read.

But 1937, is not only the time of continued industrialization, but also the well-known processes of "Stalin's repressions". The growth of industrial production, coupled with the emerging vacancies after the mass arrests of high-ranking leaders and managers, contributed to the promotion of new personnel to the top. A competent engineer with a party card also got into this jet, tragic for some and promising for others, this social elevator accelerated to the limit (and even lawlessness!)

In February 1939, Ryabikov, largely unexpectedly even for him, was appointed deputy people's commissar (people's commissar, as ministers were called in that era) for armaments. A year later, the 32-year-old engineer becomes the first deputy people's commissar. At the same time, the People's Commissariat for Armaments in that era (let me remind you - the era of the outbreak of World War II) was a huge colossus of many thousands of enterprises and hundreds of design bureaus. And all this huge economy in the 1939-40s was feverishly completing industrialization and preparing for the impending battles.

Ryabikov was faced with a wide variety of tasks, from purely technical to organizational ones, from substantiating individual projects in the Kremlin to sorting out the inevitable squabbles among designers and manufacturers in any complex business. It was Vasily Ryabikov who, in the fall of 1940, decided to start production of the famous PPSh - the Shpagin submachine gun. And this is just one example of his diverse activities in the pre-war months.

It is significant that on the morning of June 22, 1941, Ryabikov was the first to receive a call from People's Commissar (Minister) of Armaments Dmitry Ustinov, having received news from the Kremlin about the outbreak of war. Later, the people's commissar in his memoirs described his first deputy as follows: "I must say that Vasily Mikhailovich Ryabikov - and with him I was associated with joint work for many years, including the entire Great Patriotic War and the long post-war period - was a model of efficiency. About him they said that he was a bit dry. But it was a purely external impression. Vasily Mikhailovich was kind and sympathetic, quickly converged with people. He was respected for his firmness and adherence to principles. These qualities were successfully combined with versatile erudition and high efficiency."

And here is how Grigory Kisunko, a physicist who worked under them, one of the pioneers of our radar and rocket technology, characterized Ryabikov and his immediate superior, the Stalinist People's Commissar Ustinov: "Ryabikov was less rigid in character, humanly softer than Ustinov ; if Ustinov was more feared than loved, then Ryabikov was more loved than feared. However, here the word "loved" may be closer in meaning to the word "respected" ... "

At the beginning of World War II, Ryabikov headed a special headquarters created for the evacuation of industrial enterprises. By November 1941, 2,593 enterprises had been evacuated to the rear, away from the rapidly advancing enemy. And not just evacuated, but with the expectation to start production at new locations as soon as possible. The evacuation of the famous Tula factories, for example, was completed in less than three weeks. According to Ryabikov's instructions, the director of the evacuated plant could proceed to the new base only with the permission of the People's Commissar-Minister and only after the dispatch of all people and equipment had been completed.

But in addition to the evacuation, the first deputy people's commissar of armaments in the initial, most difficult period of that war, solved a lot of other problems and issues. As an example, it was Vasily Mikhailovich who dealt with the issue of expanding the production of anti-tank rifles as quickly as possible. At the same time, the designers of those guns, Degtyarev and Simonov, are well remembered and known to us, if not by millions, then at least by all lovers of military history. The one who directly stood behind them, who organized the process of development, implementation and production, is usually not remembered even by advanced connoisseurs of former weapons ...

Vasily Ryabikov completed the Great Patriotic War with the rank of lieutenant general of the engineering and artillery service. By a decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR of September 16, 1945, he was awarded the highest award off the battlefield - with the wording "for outstanding services in organizing the production of aircraft, tanks, engines, weapons and ammunition, as well as for the creation and development of new models of military equipment and providing them of the Red Army and the Navy" - was awarded the title of Hero of Socialist Labor with the Order of Lenin and the gold medal "Hammer and Sickle".

The merits of Vasily Ryabikov, following the results of the war, were valued no less than the merits and exploits of the soldiers and marshals of the great Victory. Moreover, for our hero, peaceful days did not begin even at the end of the battles - on the contrary, after 1945, a new war started for him, the struggle for sky and space.

Already in the summer of 1945, Ryabikov, as Deputy Minister of Armaments, took up a completely new direction - guided missiles. Prior to this, rocketry throughout the world was known only as unguided short-range multiple launch rocket systems, only in defeated Germany were the first, generally unsuccessful attempts to create rockets as guided strategic weapons. To begin with, Vasily Ryabikov met with scientists, got acquainted with the few developments and projects in the field of guided missiles that were available at that time. Rocketeer Boris Chertok, soon to be Sergei Korolev's colleague in the creation of our space, in his memoirs formulated the scientists' first impression of the meeting with the Deputy Minister: appreciated Ryabikov ... Ryabikov's visit inspired us all. We were convinced that, in addition to military guardians, we can also hope for a solid scientific, industrial and technological base, for a strong master in industry. "

Vasily Mikhailovich himself, following the results of his acquaintance with scientists who had taken up a completely new direction, spoke as follows: "Everything seen and heard changes the technical worldview to a large extent. Now it is clear that weapons technology has a completely new perspective ..."

But in order to bring this prospect to life, literally the whole country had to work hard, solve a huge mass of scientific, technological, and production problems. On April 29, 1946, Ryabikov was present in Stalin's Kremlin office - at a special meeting, the top leaders of the USSR discussed the need and problems of creating new missile weapons.

A new nuclear era was beginning, and not only the future and international position of our country depended on successes in the field of rocket science, as well as atomic science - in the conditions of the flaring Cold War, there was literally a question of life and death. Therefore, for the next years, Ryabikov worked under the vigilant attention of Stalin and under the direct control of Lavrenty Beria. The work was carried out literally in wartime, without discounts for formally peaceful days.

In 1950, Vasily Ryabikov headed TSU, the Third Main Directorate under the Council of Ministers of the USSR. The second and first departments were engaged in the atomic project, and the task and sole purpose of TSU was to create an air defense missile shield around Moscow. In fact, it was from the Third Main Directorate of General Ryabikov that our entire rocket and space program grew - from anti-aircraft missiles to launching a man into space.

The work on creating new technology was so urgent and complex that Vasily Ryabikov rarely, but still changed his correct and calm leadership style. The developer of radio electronics, Grigory Kisunko, recalled one of the working days, more precisely, one of the nights of 1950: “Everyone who was at the meeting with Beria proceeded straight from the Kremlin to TSU and gathered in Ryabikov’s office ... It was already after midnight. Ryabikov, tired, with circles under his eyes, took off his jacket, unbuttoned his shirt collar, loosened his tie, kissed a glass of borjomi, put a chair almost in the middle of the office, sat on it, put his hands like whips on the back of the chair. , angrily, swore in a square: "So what! Why don't we plant a couple of antenna pests and safely end this business? So to speak,""

However, such moments in Ryabikov's leadership style were rare. Despite all the problems and difficulties, an unprecedented weapon was created. In May 1953, at the Kapustin Yar test site, a guided missile shot down for the first time a target aircraft, which was a Tu-4 high-altitude bomber. Thus, the first S-25 anti-aircraft missile system arose, which became the forerunner of all modern air defense missile systems in the country, such as the S-400, now widely known throughout the world, or the promising S-500.

Since 1955, Vasily Ryabikov headed the Special Committee under the Council of Ministers of the USSR, which coordinated all work on the creation of rocket technology in our country. Now it was no longer just about anti-aircraft missiles, but also about strategic weapons capable of both sending a person into space and delivering a nuclear warhead to targets on other continents.

It was Ryabikov who in August 1957 supervised the testing of the R-7 rocket. This world's first successful intercontinental ballistic missile, created by the design bureau of Sergei Korolev, will soon lift into space both the first artificial satellite of the Earth and the first cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin.

As one of the participants in those tests recalled: "The R-7 launch went flawlessly. The warhead did indeed reach the earth's surface in a given square, and some began to hint to Vasily Mikhailovich about a banquet on this occasion. The banquet took place, but not at public expense, but in clubbing ... When the main toasts were over, an accordion appeared from somewhere, and Ryabikov not badly played several old Russian waltzes, then with might and main spun "Lady", "Korobeinikov", "Katyusha". Meanwhile, Korolev poured cognac and offered a toast ... Vasily Mikhailovich, stopping game, roaringly, like a village boy, smiling, he said: - Eh, I like to sing, but it's a pity that there is no time ... "

In the next decade and a half, Vasily Ryabikov was engaged in the general management of the Soviet economy. In 1958-1961 he served as Deputy Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Russian Republic within the USSR. Then for 13 years he worked as the first deputy chairman of the State Planning Committee of the Council of Ministers of the USSR, the famous Gosplan.

In this position, while continuing to oversee the rocket and space industry, he dealt with other global issues and problems of the Soviet economy. Rocketeer Boris Chertok in his memoirs recalls a revealing conversation that took place in 1971 in the town of Korolev near Moscow during Ryabikov's visit to the heart of space science - TsKBEM, the Central Design Bureau of Experimental Engineering (now the famous Energia Rocket and Space Corporation):

"For you, we are forced to include in each decree a clause on the allocation of currency for the import of modern machine tools, instruments and laboratory equipment. In terms of technical complexity, what we acquire abroad, I assure you, is simpler than space technology. But in order to master this in our other industries, serious economic reforms are needed. So far, we have not decided what needs to be done so that the industry itself is vitally interested in updating, albeit to the detriment of quantity. You have achieved it, but at what cost! For you, for nuclear scientists, for those who will provide us with parity in strategic arms with America, we are creating the necessary conditions at a very high price. You deserve it. But for all the others who, by the way, feed you, we cannot create such conditions ... "

However, in the era of the late Brezhnev, such "managers" of the Stalin era, like Ryabikov, were already exiting. Colonel-General of the Engineering and Technical Service Vasily Mikhailovich Ryabikov never retired - he died on July 19, 1974. The hero of the economy, unknown to the general public, was buried at the Novodevichy Cemetery in Moscow, and five years later a warship was named after him.

Here, too, everything turned out symbolically - the name "General Ryabikov" was carried by a sea transport of weapons. That is, the ship, which, by definition, is not destined to become famous in battles and campaigns, but without it, fleet operations in the seas and oceans are impossible. The steel "General Ryabikov", capable of taking on board and on the high seas quickly reloading 300 tons of weapons and ammunition onto other ships, accompanied the Black Sea Fleet on Mediterranean campaigns for many years.

"General Ryabikov" also distinguished itself by the fact that after the collapse of the USSR, during the division of the navy into Russian and Ukrainian in Sevastopol, it was on its board that the St. Andrew's flag was first raised. In 2008, "General Ryabikov" participated in a military operation to force Georgia to peace, and only in the fall of last year, the weapons transport was withdrawn from the fleet and handed over for scrapping. With the departure of this ship, the name of General-Engineer Ryabikov will not sink into oblivion and the top military and state leaders will not forget him. Deprived of wide fame and underestimated feat of his life is worthy of memory.