alexei kosygin

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March 27th 1958: Khrushchev becomes Soviet Premier

On this day in 1958, Nikita Khrushchev became head of the government of the Soviet Union. Khrushchev served as Premier of the world’s first Communist state from 1958 to 1964. He, along with Lenin and Stalin, are the only Premiers to also have been party leader simultaneously. Under Khrushchev, Russia was partially de-Stalinised, which was a core policy of the Premier who vociferously denounced his predecessor’s dangerous ‘cult of personality’. However, the accession of Khrushchev did not ease the tensions of the Cold War, and during his tenure Russia escalated its space program to compete with the United States in the ‘Space Race’. Russia had successfully launched the first satellite, Sputnik 1, in 1957, but now sought to put a man in space, which they did in 1961. It was also under Khrushchev that the Cold War came the closest to breaking out into fully fledged war, with the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1963. Khrushchev was deposed by party colleagues in 1964 and replaced by Leonid Brezhnev as First Secretary of the Communist Party and by Alexei Kosygin as Premier.

June 23

In 1967, US President Lyndon Johnson met with Soviet Premier Alexei Kosygin in Glassboro, New Jersey for a three-day summit meeting.  The leaders were unable to reach any kind of accords on important matters, but the summit did improve US-Soviet relations.  Johnson displayed his typical shrewdness in selecting the location; by choosing New Jersey, he hoped to make the Soviet leader more at home by showing him that America also had total shitholes.