Alexei Nikolayevich Kosygin (Russian: Алексе́й Никола́евич Косы́гин, Aleksej Nikolajevič Kosygin; February 20, 1904 – December 18, 1980) was a Soviet-Russian statesman from the start to the end of the Cold War. He served as Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the USSR from 1964 to 1980, and as Chairmen of the Council of Peoples' Commissars of the RSFSR, or Russian Premier, from 1943 to 1946. Kosygin was responsible for the economic administration of the Soviet Union, and for several relatively liberal reforms in areas of domestic and external policies. Kosygin retired in 1980 due to bad health and was replaced by Nikolai Tikhonov.
Kosygin was born in the Russian city of St. Petersburg in 1904 to a Russian working class family. He was conscripted into the labor army during the Russian Civil War, and after the Red Army's demobilization in 1921, left to work in Siberia as an industrial manager. He returned to Leningrad in the early 1930s, working his way up the Soviet hierarchy. During the Great Patriotic War (World War II) he was a member of the State Defense Committee and was tasked with moving Soviet industry out of territories soon to be overrun by the German military. In the aftermath of the war Kosygin served as Minister of Finance for a year before becoming Minister of the Ministries of Light Industry and Light and Food Industry. One year before his death in 1952 Stalin removed him from the politburo, purposely weakening Kosygin's position within the Soviet hierarchy.
After the power struggle triggered by Stalin's death in 1953, Nikita Khrushchev became the new leader. On March 20, 1959, Kosygin was made the new Chairman of the State Planning Committee (Gosplan), a post he held for little more than a year. But by that time Kosygin had become a First Deputy Chairman of the Council of Ministers. After Khrushchev was ousted as leader in 1964, Kosygin was made Premier and Leonid Brezhnev made First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. Kosygin, along with Brezhnev and Nikolai Podgorny, the Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, was part of the new "collective leadership" of the USSR. Kosygin became one of two major power players within the Soviet hierarchy, the other being Brezhnev, and was able to initiate the failed 1965 economic reform, usually referred to simply as the Kosygin reform. This reform, along with his more open stance on solving the Prague Spring, made Kosygin one of the most liberal members of the top leadership.