Kosygin, Alexei Nikolayevich (əlyĭksyāˈ nyĭkə lĪˈəvĭch kəsēˈgĭn) [key], 1904–80, Soviet political leader. A member of the Communist party from 1927, he joined its central committee in 1939. In the 1940s, as an aide to Joseph Stalin, he became recognized as an expert in economics and industry. He held various other government and party posts before becoming (1960) first deputy chairman of the USSR council of ministers. In 1964 he succeeded Nikita Khrushchev as premier, sharing overall power with Leonid Brezhnev, general secretary of the Communist party. By the late 1960s, however, his importance in the party and government hierarchy had diminished in relation to that of Brezhnev, although Kosygin continued as premier. In this post he introduced various economic measures designed to reform and modernize Soviet agriculture, industry, and trade. Most of his efforts, however, were frustrated by Brezhnev's hardline intransigence. Kosygin resigned due to ill health in 1980 and died shortly thereafter.
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