Nikolai Podgorny

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Nikolai Viktorovich Podgorny served the Soviet Union during the Cold War. His official title was First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Ukraine (1957-1963). From 1965 to 1977 Podgorny served as Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet. In 1977 Podgorny lost his seat to Leonid Brezhnev.
Born in Karlovka on February 18, 1903, Podgorny's family was relegated to the working class. Podgorny graduated from a local worker's school in 1926 and from the Kiev Technological Institute of Food Industry in 1931. In 1930 he became an All-Union Communist Party member. He moved up the Soviet Communist hierarchy though the industrial portion of the Soviet Union. When Anastas Mikoyan's resigned, Podgorny was voted as Chairman. Podgorny was now the second most powerful man in the Soviet Union.
Podgorny aligned with Brezhnev to out Khrushchev as First Secretary and Premier by blaming Khrushchev for economic troubles, voluntarism and behavior unbecoming to a leader. After Khrushchev's dismissal Podgorny became Second Secretary and in charge of the Party's Organizational Division. He threated Brezhnev's power by developing his own power base. Podgorny's position in the government was continually threatened by Brezhnev.
Podgorny misreported information concerning Israel and Egypt to insight war (1967). He opened dialogues with Pope Paul VI to open the Roman Catholic Church in Eastern Europe. He visited Communist China, North Vietnam as well as Afghanistan. In spite of these diplomatic steps, Brezhnev continued to undermine Podgorny's power and in 1977 the Soviet Constitution was changed to give ultimate power to the Party head relegating undersecretaries to powerless positions.
Podgorny died of cancer on January 12, 1983. His was removed from the 1977 painting of the Soviet leaders at the Red Square, and is buried in Moscow at the Novodevichy cemetery. He left behind Natalya Nikolayevna Podgornaya, his wife and two daughters.

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