Nikolai Bryukhanov

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Nikolai Bryukhanov
Bryukhanov was a Soviet Narkom of Finance who was arrested and executed in 1938, during the Great Purge
People's Commissar for Finance of the USSR
In office
16 January 1926 – 15 October 1930
Premier Alexey Rykov
Preceded by Grigory Sokolnikov
Succeeded by Hryhoriy Hrynko
People's Commissar for Food of the USSR
In office
6 July 1923 – 9 May 1924
Premier Vladimir Lenin
Preceded by None—post created
Succeeded by None—post abolished
People's Commissar for Food of the RSFSR
In office
December 1921 – 1923
Premier Vladimir Lenin
Preceded by Alexander Tsiurupa
Succeeded by Moses I. Kalmanovich
Personal details
Born (1878-12-16)16 December 1878
Simbirsk, Simbirsk Oblast, Imperial Russia
Died 1 September 1938(1938-09-01) (aged 59)
Moscow, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
Political party All-Union Communist Party (bolsheviks)

Nikolai Pavlovich Bryukhanov (Russian: Николай Павлович Брюханов; last name sometimes transliterated as Briukhanov; party aliases Andrey and Andrey Simbirsky; literary alias N. Pavlov) (December 28, 1878 (New Style) - September 1, 1938) was a Soviet statesman and political figure who served as People's Commissar of Finance between 1926 and 1930. Until recently, his date of death was believed to have been June 30, 1943.


Born at Simbirsk in a family of Russian ethnicity,[1] Bryukhanov studied at the Moscow and Kazan universities in the late 1890s, but left without a degree. He became involved in revolutionary activities and joined the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party in 1902, becoming a member of its regional committee in Kazan in 1903. In August 1903, when the party split into two mostly independent factions, Vladimir Lenin's Bolsheviks and Julius Martov's Mensheviks, Bryukhanov sided with the Bolsheviks. In 1907 Bryukhanov moved to Ufa, where he edited the party's local newspaper Ufimsky Rabochiy (The Ufa Worker).

During the Russian Revolution of 1917, Bryukhanov was the head of the Bolshevik committee in Ufa and, after the Bolshevik seizure of power in October 1917, became a member of the regional revolutionary committee and its Commissar of Supplies. In February 1918 he was made a member of the collegium (governing body) of the Peoples' Commissariat of Supplies and in June 1918, he became Deputy People's Commissar with responsibilities for food supplies in the Moscow region.[2] From August 1919, Bryukhanov simultaneously served as Chairman of the Special Supplies Commission of the Eastern Front and then, from January 1920 until September 1922, as head of the Main Supplies Directorate of the Red Army.

Bryukhanov was put in charge of the People's Commissariat of Supplies in December 1921. With the creation of the USSR in December 1922, Bryukhanov became the first head of the People's Commissariat of Supplies of the new federation on July 6, 1923. On May 14, 1924, the Commissariat was abolished and Bryukhanov was made deputy People's Commissar of Finance. When the head of the Commissariat, Grigory Sokolnikov, supported Grigory Zinoviev and Lev Kamenev in their unsuccessful opposition to the Soviet leader Joseph Stalin in late 1925, Stalin replaced Sokolnikov with the less influential and apolitical Bryukhanov on January 18, 1926.[3] At the 15th Party Congress in December 1927, Bryukhanov was elected candidate (non-voting) member of the Central Committee of the Soviet Communist Party,[4] a position which he kept until the 17th Party Congress in January 1934.

In early August 1930, Stalin ordered a purge of Bryukhanov's Commissariat in a letter to Vyacheslav Molotov:

On October 18, 1930, Bryukhanov and the chairman of the State Bank, Georgy Pyatakov, were held responsible for surging inflation and fired from their posts. Bryukhanov was replaced with Grigori Fyodorovich Grinko[6] and appointed Deputy Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Moscow Oblast Soviet. In April 1931, he was made Deputy People's Commissar of Supplies of the USSR. He also served as Deputy Chairman of the Sovnarkom's Central Commission on grain yields in 1933-1937.

Bryukhanov was arrested by the NKVD secret police on February 3, 1938, during the Great Purge. He was sentenced to death and executed on September 1, 1938. The Soviet government cleared him of all charges in 1956 as part of the first wave of destalinization. However, the date of his death was given as June 30, 1943 as part of the government's policy to downplay the extent of the Great Purge by falsifying the dates of its victims' deaths[7]


  1. [1]
  2. See Silvana Malle. The Economic Organization of War Communism 1918-1921, Cambridge University Press, 1985 (2002 paperback edition), ISBN 0-521-52703-1 p.339.
  3. See Samuel A. Oppenheim. "Between right and left: Grigorii Yakovlevich Sokolnikov and the development of the Soviet state, 1921-1929", in Slavic Review, Winter 1989. Available online as of March 2006.
  4. See USSR Facts and Figures
  5. See Stalin's letter dated "No later than August 6" in Stalin's Letters to Molotov: 1925-1936, Eds. Lars T. Lih, Oleg V. Naumov, and Oleg Khlevniuk, Yale University Press, 1995, ISBN 0-300-06211-7.
  6. See Hiroaki Kuromiya. Stalin's Industrial Revolution: Politics and Workers, 1928-1932, Cambridge University Press, 1988, ISBN 0-521-38741-8 p.267.
  7. See, for example, John L. H. Keep. A History of the Soviet Union 1945-1991, Oxford University Press, 1995, ISBN 0-19-280319-0 p.79: "In such [non-survivor] cases the document often contained a fraudulent statement as to the date and circumstances of the vicitm's death".


  • Yu. P. Kizin. Nikolai Pavlovich Bryukhanov, Ufa, Bashkirskoe Knizhnoe Izdatel'stvo, 1968, 84pp.
  • K.A. Zalessky. Imperiya Stalina: Biograficheskij entsiklopedicheskij slovar, Moscow, Veche, 2000 Excerpts available on-line
Political offices
Preceded by
Grigory Sokolnikov
People's Commissar for Finance
1926 – 1930
Succeeded by
Hryhoriy Hrynko