Boris Vannikov

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Boris Lvovich Vannikov
BornAugust 26, 1897
Baku, Russian Empire (present-day Azerbaijan)
Died22 February 1962 (1962-02-23) (aged 64)
Moscow, Russia SFSR, Soviet Union
AllegianceSoviet Union Soviet Union
Service/branchRed Army flag.svg Red Army
Years of service1918–1941
RankColonel general
Commands heldPeople's Commissar for Armament
Deputy Minister of Middle Machinery
Battles/warsWorld War II
Cold War
AwardsHero of Socialist Labor
USSR State Prize

Boris Lvovich Vannikov (Russian: Бори́с Льво́вич Ва́нников; 26 August 1897; Baku, Russian Empire – 22 February 1962; Moscow, Russia SFSR, Soviet Union) was a Soviet government and military official, a three-star General.

Vannikov was People's Commissar for Defense Industry from December 1937 until January 1939 and People's Commissar for Armament from January 1939 through June 1941. On June 7, 1941, Vannikov was arrested for "failing to carry out his duties". However, as the war with Germany started on 22 June, Vannikov was released on 25 July 1941 then appointed People's Commissar for Ammunition from February 1942 through June 1946.

From 1945 through 1953 Vannikov was Head of the 1st Main Directorate of the Council of People's Commissars of the USSR. In this position Vannikov worked under direct leadership of Lavrenty Beria overseeing the Soviet atomic bomb project. He inadvertently helped the nuclear scientists Yulii Khariton and Igor Kurchatov by walking close to their test reactor. His body fat reflected enough neutrons to approach criticality.[1]

Vannikov was thrice named a Hero of Socialist Labor (1942, 1949, and 1954), and twice awarded the Stalin Prize (1951 and 1953). After Beria's arrest and death in 1953, Vannikov was moved to the position of First Deputy Minister of Medium Machine-Building Ministry (made of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Main Directorares merged and being the designated code-name for the nuclear related R&D and production in the USSR). He retired in 1958.


  1. ^ Rhodes, Richard (1995). Dark Sun: The Making Of The Hydrogen Bomb. Simon and Schuster. p. 352.