Military Review

Nikolay Bulganin. Politician in uniform

Nikolay Bulganin. Politician in uniform

120 years ago, 11 June 1895, was born the Soviet statesman and military leader, Marshal of the Soviet Union Nikolai Alexandrovich Bulganin. This person is interesting because he simultaneously held high government and military posts. Bulganin was the only person in stories USSR, who three times headed the Board of the USSR State Bank and twice - the military department (Minister of the USSR Armed Forces in 1947-1949 and the Minister of Defense of the USSR in 1953-1955). The peak of Bulganin's career was the post of chairman of the Council of Ministers of the USSR. Under Khrushchev, he fell into disgrace, and the Stavropol Economic Council was his last place of work.

The beginning of the conscious life of Nicholas was ordinary. He was born in Nizhny Novgorod, in the family of an employee (according to another version, his father was a clerk in the factories of the then famous bread-maker Bugrov). He graduated from a real school. He worked as a humble apprentice electrician and clerk. Nikolai did not participate in the revolutionary movement. In March alone, 1917 joined the Bolshevik Party. He served in the protection of the Rastyapinsky plant of explosives of the Nizhny Novgorod province. A competent person was noticed, and from 1918, Bulganin served in the Cheka, where he quickly moved up the career ladder. In 1918-1919 - Deputy Chairman of the Moscow-Nizhny Novgorod Railway Cheka. In 1919 — 1921 - Head of the sector of the operational part of the transport of the Special Section of the Turkestan Front. 1921 — 1922 - Head of the Transport Cheka of the Turkestan Military District. In Turkestan, Nikolai Bulganin had to fight the basmachis. After the Civil War, he worked in the field of electrical engineering.

Then Nikolay Bulganin advanced in the civil sphere, where he reached major government posts. By the beginning of World War II, Bulganin had such large posts as Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Moscow Council (1931-1937), Chairman of the Council of People’s Commissars of the RSFSR (1937-1938), Deputy Chairman of the USSR Council of People's Commissars (1938-1944), Chairman of the Board of the State Bank USSR (1938-1945 years).

Bulganin was a sensible business executive, and went through a good school. He worked in the Cheka, the state apparatus, headed the largest enterprise of Moscow - the Kuybyshev Moscow Electrozavod, was the head of the Moscow Council and Council of People's Commissars. No wonder his electrical plant fulfilled the first five-year plan for two and a half years and became famous throughout the country. As a result, he was entrusted with the economy of Moscow. True, he was not a unique manager like Beria. Offer something original, he could not. Bulganin was a good performer, not a generator of ideas. He never objected to the authorities, he knew all the bureaucratic tricks and tricks.

With the beginning of the war, Nikolai Bulganin again put on his uniform In June 1941, the main banker of the Soviet state received the military rank of lieutenant general and became a member of the Military Council of the Western Direction. Then he was a member of the Military Council of the Western Front, the 2 of the Baltic and 1 of the Byelorussian Front.

It must be said that the appointment of large state and party leaders to military posts during this period was commonplace. Members of the Military Councils of the fronts were such large Soviet state and party leaders as Khrushchev, Kaganovich, and Zhdanov. The fronts often benefited from this, since large figures had more opportunities to knock out additional funds from various departments. The very Bulganin, in the midst of the battle for Moscow, turned to V.P. Pronin, who replaced him as chairman of the Moscow City Council, with a request to include in the case of rescue from the swamps of the stuck tanks and other heavy weapons, the capital trust for the movement of buildings. Muscovites helped the military and as a result, many “additional” combat vehicles took part in the defense of the capital. Nikolai Bulganin often came with various requests to Mikoyan, who was in charge of the supply of the Red Army. Mikoyan helped as he could.

But on the other hand, such figures as Bulganin and Khrushchev (on whom lay part of the blame for the hardest failure in the southern strategic direction) did not understand military affairs. Thus, the commander of the Western Front, G. K. Zhukov, later gave this assessment to a member of the military council: “Bulganin knew very little military affairs and, of course, knew nothing about operational and strategic issues. But, being a man intuitively developed, cunning, he managed to approach Stalin and weigh himself in his confidence. ” At the same time, Zhukov valued Bulganin as a good business executive and was calm for the rear.

I.S. Konev, who commanded the Western Front in 1943, was dismissed as unable to cope with his duties. According to Konev, Bulganin was guilty of this. “I,” notes Marshal Konev, “had the impression that my withdrawal from the front was not a direct result of a conversation with Stalin. This conversation and my disagreement was what was called the last straw. Obviously, Stalin’s decision was the result of biased reports and oral reports by Bulganin, with whom I had rather difficult relations by that time. At first, when I joined the front command, he acted within the framework of the duties of a member of the Military Council, but recently he tried to interfere in the direct management of operations, not enough understanding for this in military affairs. I tolerated for some time, passed by attempts to act in a similar way, but in the end we had a major conversation with him, apparently, not left for me without consequences. ” After some time, the Supreme Commander acknowledged the fallacy of Konev’s removal from office, and this case was cited as an example of the wrong attitude of a member of the Military Council to the commander.

After Bulganin departed for the 2 Baltic Front, headquarters of the Supreme Command led by a member of the State Defense Committee Malenkov arrived at the headquarters of the Western Front on the instructions of Joseph Stalin. For six months, the front undertook 11 operations, but did not achieve any significant success. The Stavka Commission revealed major mistakes by the Sokolovsky commander and members of the military council of Bulganin (the former) and Mehlis (who was in office at the time of the inspection). Sokolovsky lost his post, and Bulganin was reprimanded. Bulganin as a member of the military council of the front "did not report to GHQ about the presence of major flaws on the front."

The activities of the 2 Baltic Front were also studied by the Stavka. It turned out that not a single operation in the period when the front was commanded by Army General M.M. Popov did not give serious results, the front did not fulfill his tasks, although he had an advantage in strength over the enemy and spent a large amount of ammunition. The mistakes of the 2 of the Baltic Front were related to the unsatisfactory activities of the commander Popov and a member of the military council of Bulganin. Popov was dismissed from the post of the commissary; Bulganin was dismissed from the post of a member of the Military Council.

Colonel-General V.M. Shatilov recalled that on the Baltic front, Bulganin could not independently put on the work card data on the fortifications of the Wehrmacht, revealed by intelligence. P. Sudoplatov noted Bulganin’s low military professionalism: “Bulganin’s incompetence was simply amazing. I came across him several times in the Kremlin during meetings of the heads of intelligence services. Bulganin did not understand such issues as the rapid deployment of forces and means, the state of alert, strategic planning ... This man did not have the slightest political principles - an obedient slave of any leader. ”

However, Stalin had his own reason. For the generals, especially in the conditions of the catastrophic beginning of the war, supervision was required. Military professionalism was sacrificed for political expediency. It was necessary to ensure that no new Tukhachevsky appeared in the army, claiming the role of Napoleon. In the context of the war with Hitler Germany, which led almost all of Europe, a military insurgency in the Red Army threatened with a military-political catastrophe. Bulganin and other party leaders were a kind of “state eye” at the front. Nicholas Bulganin, apparently, did a good job with this case, since his position throughout the war had never been shaken, despite his reprimands. In some respects, Bulganin can be compared with the ex-Minister of Defense of the Russian Federation A. Serdyukov. Obedient and executive, they carried out the will of the Kremlin and did not ask unnecessary questions.

Already in May, 1944, Nikolai Bulganin went on promotion, became a member of the Military Council of one of the main fronts - the 1 of Belarus. The success of the operation "Bagration" in Belarus led to further career growth Bulganin. Bulganin became an army general. Since November 1944, Bulganin has been Deputy Commissar of Defense of the USSR, member of the USSR State Defense Committee (GKO). Since February 1945 has been a member of the Supreme Command Headquarters. From March 1946, First Deputy Minister of the Armed Forces of the USSR. In March, 1947 of the year again took up a major government post - Deputy Chairman of the USSR Council of Ministers. At the same time, Bulganin became Minister of the Armed Forces of the USSR. In 1947, Bulganin was given the Marshal title.

On the one hand, it is surprising that a person who does not have military leadership data and does not know the military affairs occupies the highest military posts in the Soviet Union. Bulganin had a collection of orders, which many outstanding military leaders did not have. So, Bulganin was honored in 1943 — 1945. four commander orders - Suvorov (1 and 2 degrees) and two orders of Kutuzov 1 degree, and also had the Order of the Red Banner. On the other hand, it was the policy of Stalin. He "diluted" the generals, professional military. In the highest military elite of the country included "politicians in uniform". It is not by chance that after the end of the war, Bulganin became the Supreme’s right hand in the Armed Forces, beating such illustrious commanders as Zhukov, Rokossovsky, Konev and Vasilevsky.

Bulganin led the Defense Ministry with the help of professionals: his first deputy was Marshal Vasilevsky, General Staff Shtemenko was Chief of the General Staff, and the fleet was headed by Kuznetsov. I must say that he easily headed such different organizations as the State Bank or the Ministry of Defense, as he was a performer. He simply passed on to his subordinates the instructions of Stalin, the Politburo, and monitored their rigorous execution.

After the war, Bulganin took part in the "hunt" for Zhukov, when the illustrious commander was disgraced and was "exiled" to the secondary Odessa military district. According to the testimony of the former Commissar and Commander-in-Chief of the Navy Admiral Fleet Soviet Union N.G. Kuznetsova, Bulganin took part in the persecution of naval commanders. Bulganin used a denunciation of the alleged illegal transfer of parachute torpedoes, ammunition samples and navigational charts to the British Allies. Bulganin inflated this rumor, brought the matter to court. As a result, four admirals - N.G. Kuznetsov, L.M. Galler, V.A. Alafuzov and G.A. Stepanov was first subjected to a “court of honor” and then to a criminal court. Kuznetsov was removed from office and demoted in three ranks, the rest received real terms of imprisonment.

Huge experience behind the scenes intrigue and bureaucratic tricks helped Bulganin succeed after Stalin's death, although not for long. Bulganin did not claim to be a leader, but he did not intend to go to the background. Bulganin was a friend of Khrushchev, so he supported him. In turn, Khrushchev needed the support of the army. In addition, they share the fear of Beria. After Stalin's death, Bulganin headed the Ministry of Defense (it included the military and naval ministry of the USSR). While he remained 1-m Vice-Chairman of the USSR Council of Ministers.

Bulganin played a big role in the conspiracy against Beria. With the agreement of Khrushchev, he agreed with his first deputy, Marshal G.K. Zhukov and Colonel General K.S. Moskalenko, commander of the Moscow Air Defense District, on their personal participation in the elimination of Beria. As a result, Beria was eliminated from the political Olympus (there is a version that he was immediately killed). Bulganin willingly joined the chorus of critics L. Beria, when he was declared “the enemy of the party, the people”, “an international agent and a spy”, forgetting all previous merits for the Motherland.

When in the 1955 year, during the internal political struggle, Malenkov was dismissed from the post of the Chairman of the Council of Ministers, his post was occupied by Bulganin. Ministry of Defense, he gave way to Zhukov. Bulganin together with Khrushchev made a number of visits (to Yugoslavia, India). Bulganin fully supported Khrushchev in the "criticism of Stalin's personality" when he presided over the closed session of the XXth Congress held on February 25 1956. Thanks to his support, as well as some other members of the Presidium of the Central Committee, Khrushchev managed to crush the resistance of those members of the Soviet leadership who considered harmful raise the issue of repression 1930-ies.

But gradually Bulganin, apparently frightened by the radicalism of Khrushchev, began to move away from him, and ended up in the same camp with his former opponents. Bulganin entered the so-called. "Anti-party group". However, thanks to the support of Zhukov and other members of the Central Committee, Khrushchev kept himself at the top of his power. It seemed that Bulganin would survive in the course of this collision. Bulganin acknowledged and condemned his mistakes, helped expose the activities of the "anti-party group." The matter cost a severe reprimand with a warning.

However, soon Khrushchev removed Bulganin from the country's leadership. First, Bulganin lost the post of head of the Council of Ministers, then he was transferred to the post of chairman of the board of the State Bank. In August, 1958, Bulganin was actually sent into exile - to the post of chairman of the economic council in Stavropol. He will be deprived of the title of Marshal. In 1960, Bulganin retired. Bulganin died in 1975 year.

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  1. parusnik
    parusnik 11 June 2015 07: 38
    Military professionalism was sacrificed for political expediency. ... Hmm .. this especially affected the Crimean foront .. Kozlov-Mehlis, where the Mehlis crushed Kozlov for himself .. how it all ended, it’s known .. Sevastopol wasn’t unblocked, the defeat of the Crimean front .. Although the Crimean front had an advantage , not much truth .. before the Manstein army ...
  2. valokordin
    valokordin 11 June 2015 08: 39
    Quote: parusnik
    Military professionalism was sacrificed for political expediency. ... Hmm .. this especially affected the Crimean foront .. Kozlov-Mehlis, where the Mehlis crushed Kozlov for himself .. how it all ended, it’s known .. Sevastopol wasn’t unblocked, the defeat of the Crimean front .. Although the Crimean front had an advantage , not much truth .. before the Manstein army ...

    Bulganin was a member of the Presidium of the CPSU Central Committee and his portrait hung on the wall with other members. Well, why was he needed ?, or they won’t put a fool on the post?
  3. Scud
    Scud 11 June 2015 10: 46
    He read in his memoirs. Being in the front-line zones he had his own harem. The walker is still that.
  4. atos_kin
    atos_kin 11 June 2015 11: 19
    sent to exile - to the post of chairman of the economic council in Stavropol

    Was it not there that the imperishable marked Mishka was growing up in the future "finish" the USSR?
  5. apro
    apro 11 June 2015 11: 29
    I’ll express my opinion on his appointment to the post of Minister of Defense, after the war, all the marshals deserved and abitious whom to appoint others will be offended by this compromise option, IVStalin took into account the balance of forces in the army. behind the stick.
  6. Valery Valery
    Valery Valery 11 June 2015 20: 24
    Even if a very educated person who knows the history of the USSR well is asked to list all the marshals of the Soviet Union - if Bulganin is named, then only through an encyclopedia.
  7. Raider
    Raider 11 June 2015 23: 14
    Another Serdyukov of the Stalin era, only political. Civil general.
  8. Andryukha G
    Andryukha G 12 June 2015 07: 22
    Party faceless unprofessional opportunist, strewn with undeserved awards and titles, and how many such "heroes" there were who later ruined the USSR.
    1. gladcu2
      gladcu2 12 June 2015 16: 58
      Not in the eyebrow, but in the eye. That's right to summarize the resume.

      A typical example of an opportunist snitch.
      There were a good third of those in the 1980 sample. And then they also headed the governments of the republics.

      Many thanks to the author for such a substantial, non-politicized and informative article.