Soviet Union Leaders: Timeline – HISTORY

The Soviet Union had eight leaders during its existence from 1922 to 1991. Unlike countries in which a president or prime minister is the designated head of state, the leaders of the USSR primarily rose to power by becoming the leader of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, in addition to any other roles they may have taken on along the way.

The men who ruled the Soviet Union the longest were Joseph Stalin and Leonid Brezhnev, who each served several decades as heads of the Communist Party. Less well known are Soviet heads of state such as Georgy Malenkov, who lost power to Nikita Khrushchev after just a few weeks, or Konstantin Chernenko, who died after barely a year in power and was replaced by Mikhail Gorbachev. Each of these eight men, however, somehow shaped the USSR.

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