Leonid Smirnov (politician)
Leonid Vasil’evich Smirnov (Russian: Смирнов, Леонид Васильевич) (3 April 1916 - 21 December 2001) was director of the missile factory at Dnipropetrovsk in the late 1950s, developing strategic missiles for the defence of the USSR. In March 1963 he became Deputy Chairman of the Council of Ministers, reporting to Minister of Defence Dmitriy Ustinov.
Smirnov was the son of a worker and was born on 3 April 1915 in Kuznetsk, a town to the west of Samara, Russia, then part of Saratov province but now in Penza Oblast. He began his working life as an electrician in 1930 in Rostov-on-Don.
He studied at the Novocherkassk Industrial Institute from 1933 to 1934 and graduated in 1939. Whilst studying, he worked from 1933 to 1930 in Novocherkassk, first as a duty electrician and then as an electrical engineering inspector.
Ministry of Armaments of the USSR
Smirnov worked for the Ministry of Armaments of the USSR from 1939 to 1961:
- Between 1939 and 1948, he rose from deputy head of production, to deputy chief of power, to being head of the Novocherkassk steam electric power plant. Smirnov became a member of the communist party in 1943.
- From 1948 to 1949 he was at the Industry Academy of the Ministry of Armaments.
- From 1949 to 1951 he was director of the Central Research Institute of Automatics and Hydraulics of the Ministry of Armaments.
- From 1951 to 1952 he was head of rocket and space technology weapons of the Ministry of Armaments.
- From 1952 to March 1961 he was director of the Dnipropetrovsk Machine-Building Factory (Factory-586) - now called Yuzhmash. This enterprise started work on mass production of strategic military missiles in 1951, Once Smirnov was appointed in 1952, the factory began an active and hard work on the creation of 'vertical takeoff vehicles'. The first rockets completed were R-1 missiles assembled from components from other factories. But by November 1952 they were being mass-produced using components they made themselves. In 1953, the factory produced its first batch of liquid fuel rocket engines for anti-aircraft missiles, and completed the first fire tests of the engine. The factory was responsible for the beginning of series production of the R-12 missile; this was the missile used in the Cuban Missile Crisis. On 10 July 1959 the factory was awarded the Order of Lenin for creating the R-12 missile. The first successful launch of the R-16 intercontinental ballistic missile took place on 2 February 1961. The factory did not just make missiles. It also made tractors; in 1954 for example it produced 6,500. It played an important role in the life of Dnipropetrovsk; for example in 1957, it opened the Palace of Culture.
Central government of the USSR
- From 1957 to 1961, he was head of the Central Board of the State Committee for Defense Technology.
- In March 1961 Smirnov became deputy chairman of the State Committee of the Council of Ministers of the USSR for Defence Technology (GKOT);
- From 10 June 1961 to 13 March 1963 Smirnov was chairman of State Committee of the Council of Ministers of the USSR for Defence Technology with the rank of minister of the USSR.
- From 31 October 1961 to 25 February 1986 Smirnov was a member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.
- From 13 March 1963 to 15 November 1985 he was deputy chairman of the Council of Ministers of the USSR.
Smirnov retired in November 1985.
Party congresses of the CPSU
He was a delegate to the following:
- 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in 1956.
- 22nd Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in 1961.
- 23rd Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in 1966.
- 24th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in 1971.
- 25th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in 1976.
- 26th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in 1981.
- Справочник по истории Коммунистической партии и Советского Союза 1898 - 1991, Смирнов Леонид Васильевич(Handbook on the History of the Communist Party and the Soviet Union 1898 - 1991, Leonid Smirnov)
- www.astronautix.com Nedelin
- The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979) Leonid Vasil’evich Smirnov.
- There is a disagreement between sources on the dates he held this post.
Справочник по истории Коммунистической партии и Советского Союза 1898 - 1991, Смирнов Леонид Васильевич says 1952-57.
The Yuzhmash website says 1952-61.
Rock and Roll in the Rocket City: The West, Identity, and Ideology in Soviet Dniepropetrovsk, 1960-1985, by Sergei I Zhuk, pub The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1 April 2010, ISBN 0-8018-9550-2, p20 says 1952-61.
- Yuzhmash website » Museum » Directors » Smirnov L.
- Yuzhmash website - development marks
- Russian strategic modernization: the past and future, by N. N. Sokov, pub Rowman & Littlefield, 2000, ISBN 0-8476-9467-4, p23.