HomeNationsSoviet UnionHeads of StateSvernik (Švernik), Nikolaj
Nikolaj Shvernik

Николай Михайлович Шверник (Nikolaj Mihajlovič Švernik)

b. 7/19 May 1888, St. Petersburg, Russian Empire
d. 24 Dec 1970, Moscow, USSR

Title: Председатель Президиума Верховного Совета СССР (Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR)
Term: 19 Mar 1946 - 15 Mar 1953
Chronology: 19 Mar 1946, elected, 1st session of the 2nd USSR Supreme Soviet [1]
15 Mar 1953, discharged, resolution of the 4th session of the 3rd USSR Supreme Soviet [2]
Names/titles: Председатель Президиума Верховного Совета РСФСР (Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the RSFSR) [4 Mar 1944 - 25 Jun 1946] (see details)
Nikolay Shvernik joined the Russian Social Democratic Workers' Party in 1905 and was an activist of revolutionary movement in Samara. In 1924 Shvernik was appointed people's commissar for the workers' and peasants' inspection of the Russian SFSR and member of the Presidium of the party Central Control Commission. The 14th party congress elected (31 Dec 1925) Shvernik full member of the Central Committee. In 1925-26 he served as a secretary of the Leningrad province party organization. His party career was successful as he earned promotion to the post of secretary of the Central Committee (9 Apr 1926 - 16 Apr 1927) and became full member of the Orgburo (9 Apr 1926 - 16 Apr 1927). However, in 1927 Shvernik was dismissed from his position in the Secretariat and Orgburo and was transferred to the Urals, where he was made a secratery of the province party organization (1927-1928). He proved to be loyal supporter of the industrialization policy and returned to Moscow in 1929 as chairman of the Central Committee of the Metallurgist Trade Union. He was again made a candidate member of the Orgburo (17 Nov 1929 - 26 Jun 1930). After the 16th party congress, Shvernik was elected full member of the Orgburo (13 Jul 1930 - 18 Mar 1946) and a candidate member of the Secretariat (13 Jul 1930 - 26 Jan 1934). From that time his career was closely connected with Soviet trade unions. In 1930 he assumed the office of first secretary of the All-Union Central Council of Trade Unions (Jul 1930 - Mar 1944). Elected at parliamentary elections a member of the Supreme Soviet, Shvernik was involved in creation of the new Soviet parliament. He was elected chairman of the Soviet of Nationalities (12 Jan 1938 - 10 Feb 1946), one of the two chambers in bicameral Soviet parliament. Shvernik became candidate member of the Politburo (22 Mar 1939 - 5 Oct 1952) after the 18th party congress. During World War II, he was responsible for evacuation of Soviet industry to the eastern part of the Soviet Union. In 1944 he became the first deputy chairman of the USSR Presidium of the Supreme Soviet (1 Feb 1944 - 19 Mar 1946) and chairman of the Presidium of the Russian Supreme Soviet (4 Mar 1944 - 25 Jun 1946). During the second world war Shvernik also chaired the extraordinary commission on investigation of war crimes committed by the Nazis on the occupied territories of Soviet Union. On 19 Mar 1946, Shvernik replaced Mikhail Kalinin as chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR (19 Mar 1946 - 15 Mar 1953). As a result of reformation of Politburo in October 1952, Shvernik was promoted to full membership (16 Oct 1952 - 5 Mar 1953) in the party Presidium, but Stalin's death interrupted Shvernik accession to party top leadership. The joint session of the Central Committee, the Council of Ministers and the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet (5 Mar 1953), made a recommendation on replacement of Shvernik as titular head of Soviet state and demoted him to candidate membership of the Presidium (5 Mar 1953 - 29 Jun 1957). The session of Supreme Soviet followed the recommendation and elected Kliment Voroshilov as new head of state on 15 Mar 1953. Shvernik again returned to the All-Union Central Council of Trade Unions as its chairman (Mar 1953 - Feb 1956). With the rise of Khrushchev, he regained in part his influential position as chairman of the Party Control Commission (Feb 1956 - Mar 1966) put in charge of political rehabilitation of victims of Stalinist purges. In 1957, Shvernik was made full member of the Presidium (29 Jun 1957 - 29 Mar 1966). Advanced age made him to retire from politics after the party's 23th congress in 1966. Biography source: [3, pp. 596-597]

[1] Ведомости Верховного Совета СССР, 1946, № 10.
[2] Ведомости Верховного Совета СССР, 1953, № 3.
[3] Государственная власть СССР. Высшие органы власти и управления и их руководители. 1923-1991 гг. Историко-биографический справочник / Сост. В.И.Ивкин. М.: РОССПЭН, 1999,