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Who elected the Chairman of the Council of Ministers?

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Post 10 Sep 2019, 14:56
Hi Again! I know that all key positions in the government (the Council of People’s Commissars, later the Council of Ministers) of the USSR were hold by party members, and that they were almost always the members of the party leadership, like the Central Committee and its Politburo. My doubt is: How were these ministers (including the chairman) elected to those posts? I know the Constitution says they were chosen by the Supreme Soviet on each 1st Plenary session, but my guess is, since all important ministers were part of the party leadership, I suppose it was the party leadership itself which took the initiative and nominated/proposed all the ministers, including the chairman of the Council, to be approved or rejected by the Supreme Soviet, am I right?
Post 10 Sep 2019, 21:13
You're right. In historical practice, the politburo and central committee of the party had the deciding say in who would be selected chairman of the council of ministers, with the Supreme Soviet then effectively basically rubber stamping this decision. Same goes for the other ministers - with the chairman proposing candidates for the post (almost certainly with guidance attempts from CPSU leaders), and then the Supreme Soviet congress (or the presidium of the Supreme Soviet when the congress was not in session) voting on the proposed appointments.

Formally at least, the leadership did try to reduce such a concentration of power. For example, after Khrushchev was removed from his post as both general secretary and chairman of the council of ministers in 1964 by a central committee plenum, the collective leadership agreed that these two posts could no longer be held by one person. And they weren't for the remainder of the USSR's existence.

It's been speculated that Stalin (who himself served as head of both the party and the council of ministers) saw this concentration of power as a problem, and sought to gradually remove the party from the government to focus on things like education, agitation and propaganda among the public while the government came to be filled with more engineers and technocrats (with many of the Brezhnev-era cadre who rose under Stalin actually being such themselves before eventually becoming partocrats).
Post 12 Sep 2019, 05:50
Thanks for confirming it! I'd like to have a written confirmation of this in some book or article. Would you happen to know about any? One that mentions precisely that it is the Central Committee of the Party the one that elects the chairman of the Council of Ministers.
Post 12 Sep 2019, 19:44
Probably the foremost Western authority on the subject of Soviet government, David Lane, doesn't mention the subject of the selection/election of the chairman in his books (at least the ones I have).

Here, you can find a Russian transcript of the plenum of the October 1964 plenum of the CPSU which ousted Khrushchev from his posts and replaced him with Brezhnev (general secretary) and Kosygin (chairman of the council of ministers). Just use google translate to get the gist. ... 1%83%D0%BC
Post 14 Sep 2019, 05:12
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