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Dmitri Ustinov (1908–84)

Dmitriy Fyodorovich Ustinov, USSR Defense Minister, Marshal of the Soviet Union, held military rank, although never being assigned to a military unit. This is not uncommon in the Soviet system. During World War II, while the USSR Peoples Commissar for Armaments, he was given the rank of lietenant-colonel, and was promoted to colonel-general in 1944.

In 1976, after Andrei Grechko died, Dmitri Ustinov became the Defense Minister. Though he had no prior military career, he was also awarded the highest military rank in the Soviet Union, Marshal of the Soviet Union. Ustinov held the record for being the person awarded the most Orders of Lenin -- eleven.

In 1946-53, Colonel-General-engineer artillery service D.F.Ustinov was armament Minister, 1953-57, he was the Minister of defense industry of the USSR, and in 1957-63, Deputy Chairman of the USSR Council of Ministers. From the end of April 1976 year Army General D.F.Ustinov, became Minister of Defense of the USSR. He was a Member of the CPSU Central Committee from 1952. Member of the Politburo since 1976 (candidate-from 1965 onwards). Deputy of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR of 2, 4-11-th convocation. On July 30, 1976 he was awarded the highest military rank "Marshal of the Soviet Union".

Dmitriy Fyodorovich Ustinov was born October 30, 1908 in a working class family. During the civil war, when hunger became intolerable, his sick father went to Samarkand, leaving Dimitry as head of the family. Shortly after that, in 1922, his father died. In 1923, he and his mother, Yevrosinya Martinovna, moved to the city of Makarev (near Ivanovo-Voznesensk) where he worked as a fitter in a paper mill. Shortly after that, in 1925, his mother died.

He was a member of the CPSU(b) since 1927. Ustinov received a degree in mechanical engineering from the Leningrad Military-Mechanical Institute in 1934. From there, he held various positions in industry until 1937, when he became design engineer and later chief engineer in an armaments factory.

In 1922-1923 he served in the Red Army, and then seven years school and graduated from the Leningrad military mechanical Institute. In 1927-29 he worked as a mechanic at Balahninskom paper mill, then at a factory in Ivanovo. From year 1934-engineer in Artillery marine RESEARCH INSTITUTE, head of operation and experienced works; with the year 1937-engineer, Deputy Chief Designer and Director of the Leningrad Bolshevik factory.

On June 9, 1941, Dmitry Ustinov was summoned to the Central Committee of the CPSU (b). Small fare, a short train ride from Leningrad, and he was in the hotel "Moscow". Malinkov himself took Ustinov. He was brief, informing that there was a proposal to appoint Comrade Ustinov as the People's Commissar for Armaments, the most responsible defense industry, which supplied with its guns the tank, aviation, and shipbuilding industry of the Soviet Union. "Thank you for your trust," said Ustinov to Malenkov. "But will I be able to justify it?" "Well, think about it," answered Malenkov. "Then we'll call, and you'll give your decision." In the morning on the way to the hotel buffet Dmitry Ustinov bought a newspaper in the kiosk and in one of them read the decree on his appointment as the People's Commissar of Arms. Ustinov was 33 years old, the most terrible war in the history of his homeland at hand.

During World War II, Ustinov supervised tank production as Stalin's Commissar of Armaments. Since that time he had been totally involved in the defense sector, holding the posts of Minister of Defense Industry and Deputy Chairman of the USSR Council of Ministers. In these capacities, he became deeply involved in missile research, and assumed administrative control of the entire missile-development program during the postwar years.

Dmitri Ustinov supervised the evacuation of the defense industry to the east of the Ural Mountains. He was appointed People's Commissar (i.e. Minister) for the Arms Industry in June 1941, after the German invasion of the Soviet Union, though he was only 32 years old at the time. Shortly before the outbreak of the Great Patriotic War the young production manager Ustinov, at the direction of I.V.Stalin, was appointed people's Commissar for armament of the USSR. In this post he made a major contribution to the victory in the great patriotic war, ensuring that the mass production of weapons, the successful launch of production of new types of weapons.

According to the son of Beria, Sergo, the appointment to the post of Commissar of Ustinov was made at the recommendation of Lavrenty Beria. He was one of the organizers of the evacuation to the USSR during the Great Patriotic War the industry to the east.

On June 7, 1941, Boris Vannikov was arrested for "failing to carry out his duties". Vannikov was suddenly released on 20 July 1941 and appointed Deputy People's Commissar of weapons. B.Chertok in his memoirs told the story of the liberation of BL Vannykova as a highly unusual and very similar to the legend. According to him, this was due to the fact that in a month the war began strong irregular supply of ammunition, and Stalin had to release Vannykova, resulting Vannikov worked with Ustinov throughout the war.

As People's Commissar of Armaments from 09 June 1941 to March 1946, Ustinov played an enormous role during the war in armament production. Dmitry Ustinov led a galaxy of talented engineers, designers and production managers. He proved himself as a knowledgeable, fluent business leader. Thanks to his efforts was brilliantly organized work of the whole military-industrial complex of the USSR.

Decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR from June 3, 1942 onwards for the excellence in leadership organized weapons Dmitry Ustinov F. was awarded the title of hero of Socialist Labor with the order of Lenin (# 8117) and a gold medal "hammer and sickle" (No. 24).

In 1946 the People's Commissariats were redesignated as Ministeries. In March 1953, after Stalin died, the Ministry of Armaments was combined with the Ministry of Aviation Industry, to become the Ministry of Defense Industry, and Ustinov headed this ministry until 1957. He received many awards - including a Hammer and Sickle gold medal in 1961 - for his pioneer work in missile and space programs.

When in the immediate postwar period Stalin tried to scale back significantly the production of conventional weapons in favor of civilian production, he met fierce opposition from such key figures in the defence industry as Dmitry Ustinov (at the time, 1946-53, the Soviet Armaments Minister). From 15 March 1946 to 15 March 1953 he was Minister of Soviet weapons. As minister, he put into reality the idea of Soviet missile and became deputy chairman of the Committee number 2, which was organized by a special decree of the Central Committee and the USSR Council of Ministers on May 13, 1946 1017-419 number.

As Minister of Armaments [March 1946 – 15 March 1953], Dmitri Ustinov was actively involved in the rocket project. On 13 May 1946 the Council of Ministers passed decree No. 1017-419ss. The decree created a "Special Committee on Reactive Technology" under the Council of Ministers with G. M. Malenkov as Chairman, and Minister of Armaments Ustinov as Deputy Chairman. It created the 7th General Directorate of the Ministry of Defense, which is fully engaged in missile projects. As head was appointed S.I.Vetoshkin, with whom Dmitry Ustinov found understanding in the evaluation of the importance of rocket technology.

Under the decree, Ustinov's Ministry of Armaments was given responsibility for liquid-fuel missiles. The Ministry of Agricultural Machinebuilding (until earlier the same year, known as the People's Commissariat of Munitions89) was assigned responsibility for solid-fuel missiles. Finally, the Ministry of Aviation Industry, under the newly appointed Minister Khrunichev, was put in charge of winged missiles.

Ustino was Minister of Defence Industry from 15 February 1953 to 14 December 1957. The so-called anti-Party group of Molotov, Malenkov, Kaganovich and joined Shepilova who attempted to remoe Khrushchev. Ustinov was among those who spoke in his defense. Later he was an active participant in the anti Khrushchev conspiracy. The generals of the military-industrial complex, led by Ustinov, later played a key role in the overthrow of Khrushchev himself.

On 14 December 1957 Ustinov, the 49-year-old former Soviet minister of defense industry, was promoted to USSR deputy premier. He shared top responsibility for the administrative direction of the Soviet government with Premier Bulganin and three other deputy premiers -- Anastas Mikoyan, Iosif Kuzmin, and Aleksei Kosygin. Ustinov, known for his ability to arrive at independent decisions, was responsible for all defense production activities.

The Decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR from June 17, 1961 for outstanding achievements in the development of rocket technology and the successful Soviet man's flight into outer space Dmitry Feodorovich Ustinov was awarded a second gold medal "hammer and sickle" (No. 89).

From 1963 to 1965, Dmitriy Ustinov was chairman of the Supreme Council of the National Economy (VSNKh) and first deputy chairman of the USSR Council of Ministers. Having dove into the problems of coordinating the work of the Councils of the National Economy, which exercised regional authority over industry, Ustinov had temporarily stepped away from the management of rocket-space technology. After Khrushchev’s ouster the VSNKh was phased out. Its functions were transferred to the Council of Ministers and to the reinstated industry ministries.

Ustinov had not been actively involved in the overthrow of Nikita Khrushchev, but in terms of his “specific gravity” after the “October Revolution of 1964,” he could certainly count on the post of Chairman of the Council of Ministers. However, many members of the new Brezhnev Politburo were apprehensive about Ustinov’s strong-willed nature and the possible consequences of offering him the second position in the Party and government hierarchy. Instead, Aleksey Kosygin was named chairman of the Council of Ministers. Kosygin had not been involved in the plot against Khrushchev and was nonthreatening because, involved in economics, he was not interested in political leadership. Ustinov was offered the honorary post of Central Committee secretary for defense matters. He was a candidate to become a Politburo member, while Minister of Defense Rodion Malinovskiy was a Politburo member.

Ustinov became Secretary of the Central Committee in charge of defense industries and space in 1965. As such, he became the top policy-maker in charge of the Soviet space program. In 1965-76 D.F. Ustinov was Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, coordinating in this post and directing the work of the scientific institutions, design offices, defense industries.

The Minister of Defense and Chief of the General Staff preferred to deal directly with Brezhnev. Ustinov focused all of his energy on the defense industry. The leaders of the shipbuilding and aviation industries did not forget the active support that Ustinov had rendered to Khrushchev in the development of missiles at the expense of naval submarines and bomber aviation. Ustinov had to seek out new ways to work with the industry

After the death in March 1967 of Defense Minister Marshal Malinovsky, the military insisted on the appointment of Marshal Grechko to this post. They were against the candidacy of General Ustinov, who was supported by party leaders; Grechko, on the other hand, did not compromise himself in the eyes of the military with his involvement in the "civilian apparatus" (as was the case with Ustinov, who received the general rank, working in the defense industry). And it was only after Grechko's death that General Ustinov was appointed Minister of Defense in April 1976.

Elected to full Politburo membership at the 25th Party Congress in February 1976, he had been a candidate [ie, non-voting] member since 1965, and the Party secretary responsible for the entire defense-industry sector since 1957. And most significantly, he was one of the few members of the top military-political policy group, the Defense Council, along with Brezhnev, Podgorny, and Kosygin (Grechko had also been a member).

These responsibilities placed Ustinov in one of the most significant and influential positions within the entire Soviet military policy and decision-making process. Although a politician, he limits his involvement in this area primarily to the defense industry, and had shown no inclination to build a larger political base. He was known as a tough technocrat rather than a politician.

Andrej A. Grechko, at age 72, died suddenly on 26 April 1976 of an apparent heart attack. Ustinov succeeded him as Minister of Defense on 29 April. The rapidity with which Ustinov's appointment was announced, barely eight hours after Grechko's funeral, seemed to have posed the professional military with a fait accompli, effectively short-circuiting any nomination they may have wished to make (in 1967, almost two weeks elapsed between MOD Malinovskiy's death and Grechko's appointment, and the civilian leadership at that time allegedly was unable to secure the appointment of a civilian -- also Ustinov -- as Defense Minister.) The departure from tradition this time must be read as a setback for the professional military establishment, which now no longer had a voice of its own in the Politburo or even its own man as Minister of Defense.

The appointment of the new Soviet Minister of Defense, Dmitri F. Ustinov, to succeed one of the foremost Soviet military figures of the postwar period, the Marshal Andrej A. Grechko, came as almost a total surprise to those in the West who watched important Soviet events. Although Ustinov held a titular military rank of colonel-general of the Artillery-Engineering Service, he was a possible, but highly unlikely, choice to fill a slot traditionally held by career military officers. Rather, Kulikov, Chief of the Soviet General Staff and a General of the Army, or Yakubovskij, Commander-in-Chief of Warsaw Pact forces a Marshal of the Soviet Union, or other top military officers were believed to be more likely candidates to succeed Grechko.

One of the serious problems which the death of Grechko thrust upon the Kremlin leaders stemmed from the appointment of Grechko, along with Gromyko (Minister of Foreign Affairs) and Andropov (Chairman, KGB), to full Politburo membership during a Party plenum in 1973. This, apparently, was done to ensure that the key institutions of the Soviet foreign policy apparatus were fully represented in the top decisionmaking body of the Party. Grechko also had been considered to be a close and loyal confidant of Brezhnev, and it was speculated that his Politburo appointment was due, at least in part, to this faithful service to his political mentor.

But Grechko's sudden death posed a dilemma: If a military officer, say Kulikov or Yakubovskij, were selected, what would happen to the Politburo seat held by Grechko? On the one hand, if the new Minister of Defense were not given Politburo status, the military would appear to be downgraded with respect to the Foreign Ministry and the KGB. On the other hand, if a Politburo seat were granted to a military officer of unproven loyalty, an unwise and perhaps dangerous precedent could be set.

The situation was further complicated by the military choices available. Kulikov, Chief of the General Staff, was a dynamic and aggressive military officer who tightly controlled the Soviet military, and at age 54, he had a long and promising career ahead (the average age of full Politburo members was 65). Kulikov, then, could present a possible future threat to the other leaders if he could combine political with military power at such an early age.

Yakubovskij, Commander-in-Chief of the Warsaw Pact forces, at age 64, would seem to be a far safer choice (and, indeed, a logical one, since in rank he was the senior military man, holding the top rank of Marshal of the Soviet Union). But he was tainted. Unconfirmed sources tell the story that in the 1968 Czech crisis he joined Politburo member Pyotr Shelest in taking a hard line in arguing against Brezhnev and Grechko, who both wished to solve the conflict, if possible, without military intervention. Shelest was subsequently removed from the Politburo, and although Yakubovskij remained in his military Warsaw Pact role, his opposition to Brezhnev, particularly in his alliance with a Politburo member, marked him as a potentially dangerous man, and one who could not be forgotten. Another possible reason offered for not appointing Yakubovskij is that he was. at this time, urgently needed at the Warsaw Pact, since his Chief of Staff, General of the Army Shtemenko, had died only a few days before.

In resolving this problem, the conservative-minded Kremlin apparently took the easiest path by selecting a current Politburo member - one who had been previously considered for the top Military slot.

In 1967, when Grechko became Minister of Defense, it was rumored that Ustinov had been an alternate choice, politically acceptable to the consensus of the Politburo membership. Furthermore, there might have been some fringe benefits in joining the military and defense industry sectors under one hat. (Should Ustinov later be removed from his position as Minister of Defense Industry, his background would place him in the unique position of being able to work with both sectors of defense.) Also, at age 67 Ustinov, even by Kremlin standards, probably would not have too many more years on the job, but by that time the aging Kremlin leadership most likely would not be around to worry about it. Thus, Ustinov emerged as the most convenient choice of a conservative leadership in its waning years.

The appointment of Ustinov as Minister of Defense of the USSR in 1976 led to significant progress in the Soviet Army and Soviet military doctrine. First the focus was on the creation of powerful armored forces in line with the scenario of "non-nuclear high-intensity conflict 'in Central Europe and the Far East.

Ustinov placed greater emphasis on tactical and operational-tactical nuclear weapons (the theory of "strengthening eurostrategic direction"). Accordingly in 1976 there began a planned replacement of single-warhead medium-range missiles R-12 (SS-4) and R-14 (SS-5) at the latest RSD-10 "Pioneer» (SS-20). In 1983-1984, in addition to the Soviet Union deployed in Czechoslovakia and East Germany tactical complexes OTP-22 and OTP-23 "Oka", which allowed to hit targets throughout the Federal Republic of Germany. On this basis, the analysts of US and NATO concluded that the Soviet Union was preparing a limited nuclear conflict in Europe.

He is credited with the establishment in the countries of the Warsaw Pact's own military industry and equipping Allied armies modern military equipment and weapons. Much attention is paid Dmitri military history and the history of weapons and military equipment as a part of it.

Brezhnev did not establish policies by himself. The “collective leadership” was no lie. In the early years Politburo members like Aleksei Kosygin and Mikhail Suslov wielded great power. In later years, men like Andrei Gromyko, Marshal Andrei Grechko, and Dimitri Ustinov influenced every decision Brezhnev made.

Marshal Dmitri Ustinov was a member of an informal, "small" of the Politburo, which was attended by the oldest and most influential members of the Soviet leadership: General Secretary of the CPSU Leonid Brezhnev, Secretary of the CPSU and the main ideologist of the CPSU Suslov, chairman of the KGB, and later Secretary of the CPSU Andropov Foreign Minister Gromyko, Secretary of the CPSU Chernenko. The "small" Politburo made important decisions, which were then formally approved by a vote of the Political Bureau of the basic structure, which sometimes voted in absentia. When making the decision to send Soviet troops into Afghanistan Ustinov supported Brezhnev, Andropov, and Gromyko, and the invasion of Afghanistan was resolved.

According to Gregory Feifer in The Great Gamble "According to at least one Soviet general staff officer, no one ever actually ordered the invasion of Afghanistan. Instead, between December 10 and 30, various units were given some thirty various directives to prepare for action. Defense Minister Dmitri Ustinov's lack of combat experience helps explain the absence of centralized implementation. A career spent building the military-industrial complex gave him scant knowledge of how to command the invasion of a sovereign state. Since it was beneath the marshal to ask subordinates for advice, staff activity remained largely uncoordinated."

Defense Minister Dmitri Ustinov’s November 1981 speech on the anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution summed up the Soviet reaction to the early Reagan administration. Ustinov accused the United States of ‘‘undermining the military-strategic balance’’ by seeking military superiority, attempting to stop ‘‘forces of national and social liberation,’’ and ‘‘besieging’’ the Socialist countries. Ignoring evidence that some terrorist groups were receiving support from the Soviet Union, Ustinov charged that the United States and NATO were employing ‘‘the methods of international terrorism.’’ The United States, he charged, had called into question ‘‘all that had been jointly achieved’’ (during détente) and had become an ‘‘uncontrolled military threat.’’ The Soviet Union, he asserted, ‘‘has never embarked and will never embark on the road of aggression.’’ The Soviet leaders positions in private coincided with those Ustinov expressed in public on behalf of the Politburo.

By the early 1980s the Politburo, like the Central Committee Secretariat and the Central Committee itself, became even more of a gerontocracy. Eight of the 13 voting Politburo members were 70 or older. The Brezhnev-led Politburo was been dominated by men of vintage 1900-09 (Brezhnev, Gromyko, Kirilenko, Tikhonov, and Ustinov), with figures from the 1910-18 period (Andropov, Chernenko, Grishin, and Shcherbitskiy) coming up behind them. They in turn relied on men mostly in their mid-sixties who run the Party Secretariat and Council of Ministers.

The armed forces themselves had a strong vested interest in improving Soviet economic performance and expanding production and innovation capacity. Military opinion probably also favored gradual upgrading of the traditionally neglected civilian industries that will provide broad, infrastructural support for new weapon systems. Statements in the Soviet press by high-ranking officers, including Defense Minister Dmitri Ustinov and particularly General Staff Chief Nikolai Ogarkov, reflect keen sensitivity to the prospects and implications of intensified economic warfare with Washington and, accordingly, to the need to overcome existing vulnerabilities and weaknesses.

After the death of LI Brezhnev 10.11.1982 , Dmitry Ustinov supported the candidacy of Yuri Andropov as General Secretary of the CPSU, despite the opposition of internal party groups that want to see on this post of Secretary of the CPSU Chernenko. Andropov, however, having been on the post of general secretary year and 3 months, died on 09.02.1984. Dmitry Ustinov died in late December of that year, having caught a cold during the show of new military equipment. He was buried on red square near the Kremlin wall.

Becoming a member of the Politburo and the Minister of Defense, Ustinov in those years could actually become the second person in the leadership of the state. The combination in one person of the knowledge and experience of leading industry and power over the armed forces of a great power, with the authority that Ustinov enjoyed in the scientific and technical sphere, could influence the history of the country if he had actively lived for another five years.

The Decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR on October 27, 1978 year was "for great contribution in strengthening the country's defence during the great patriotic war and in the post-war period and in relation to the 70th anniversary of the" Marshal of the Soviet Union Dmitry Ustinov F. awarded the title Hero of the Soviet Union, order of Lenin and medal "Gold Star" (# 11302).

He was awarded 11 orders of Lenin (# 4270, 8117, 19029, 199193, 320429, 348787, 369166, 400489, 400957, 423396, 401117), the order of Suvorov, 1 (# 391), Kutuzov 1 (No. 312), medals, and foreign orders. Awarded the Lenin Prize (April 20, 1982 year medal No. 3393), Stalin Prize of 1-St degree (December 16, 1953) and the USSR State Prize (February 5, 1983 year medal # 13503) titles Hero of the Mongolian people's Republic (June 8, 1981 years) and Hero of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic (October 6, 1982).

A bronze bust of hero of the Soviet Union, twice hero of Socialist Labour of the D.f. Ustinov set in his homeland-in the city of Samara. D.F. Ustinov name was given to Ul'ânovskomu industrial complex, aircraft production association izhmash and Izhevsk, in the city of Leningrad (now Saint Petersburg) mechanical Institute where he studied, the square in his hometown of Samara, streets in Moscow and St. Petersburg, the missile cruiser Krasnoznamënnogo of the northern fleet.

The death of Ustinov, like all other sudden deaths, is very much in doubt among all commentators. Ustinov, with untreated pneumonia, refused to complete treatment in the CDB and "went to the service," which resulted in pneumonia complicating sepsis and he died. Ustinov was Chernenko's man. Dmitry Fedorovich is believed to have nominated Chernenko for the post of general secretary of the Central Committee. With the sudden death of Ustinov, Chernenko lost powerful support. The head of the 4th Main Directorate of the Ministry of Health of the USSR Evgeny Ivanovich C Chazov in the book Health and Power (p. 206) writes that "Ustinov's death itself was somewhat ridiculous and left a lot of questions about the causes and nature of the disease." According to Chazov, it turns out that the Kremlin doctors have not established from what Ustinov died? Ustinov got sick after holding joint exercises of Soviet and Czechoslovak troops on the territory of Czechoslovakia. Chazov notes "an amazing coincidence - around the same time, General Dzur," the then Minister of Defense of Czechoslovakia, fell ill with the same clinical picture, who was teaching along with Ustinov. Meanwhile, the official cause of death of Dmitry Ustinov and Martin Dzur is "acute heart failure."

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Page last modified: 09-07-2018 12:54:39 ZULU