In 1919, 15-year-old Aleksey Kosygin joined the Red Army and served throughout the Civil War until 1921. Then he received vocational training in the Leningrad Co-operative College (1924). Working in co-operatives in Siberia, he joined the Communist Party in 1927. He continued his education and after the graduation from the Leningrad Textile Institute (1935), Kosygin started to work as engineer in his hometown. In 1937, Kosygin became a managing director of the Oktyabrskaya textile factory in Leningrad, but as the Great Purge caused numerous vacancies in party and state offices, he went into a full-time party work in 1938. First, he was employed as a head of the industrial and transportation department by the Leningrad provincial party committee and in 1938-1939 he served as chairman of the executive committee of the Leningrad municipal council (Lensoviet). In 1939, he was appointed people's commissar for textile industry of the USSR (2 Jan 1939 - 17 Apr 1940). The 18th party congress (March 1939) elected him on the Central Committee as a full member (Mar 1939 - 18 Dec 1980). In 1940 he was appointed deputy chairman of the Council of People's Commissars of the USSR (17 Apr 1940 - 15 Mar 1946) with responsibility for consumer industries. During World War II, Kosygin replaced Ivan Khokhlov as chairman of the Russian SFSR government (23 Jun 1943 - 23 Mar 1946). The first plenum of the party Central Committee after the end of World War II elected Kosygin a candidate member of the Politburo (18 Mar 1946 - 4 Sep 1948). At the same time he was approved as deputy chairman of the Council of Ministers of the USSR (19 Mar 1946 - 15 Mar 1953) and left his post as head of the Russian government. Following the death of Andrey Zhdanov, Kosygin was approved a full member (4 Sep 1948 - 5 Oct 1952) of the Politburo. He briefly served as minister of finance of the USSR (16 Feb 1948 - 28 Dec 1948) and next as minister for light industry (28 Dec 1948 - 15 Mar 1953). The reform of the party leadership at the 19th party congress (Oct 1952) demoted Kosygin to a candidate member of the party Presidium (16 Oct 1952 - 5 Mar 1953), but upon the death of Stalin he was practically excluded from the top leadership and assumed the post of minister for light and food-processing industry (15 Mar 1953 - 24 Aug 1953) and then minister of consumer goods (24 Aug 1953 - 23 Feb 1954). He was reinstated as deputy chairman of the USSR Council of Ministers (7 Dec 1953 - 25 Dec 1956, 5 Jul 1957 - 4 May 1960) and a candidate member of the Presidium (29 Jun 1957 - 4 May 1960) as he proved that he was a loyal supporter of Nikita Khrushchev. His final rise to power began with his appointment as chairman of the USSR State Committee for Planning (20 Mar 1959 - 4 May 1960) and First deputy chairman of the USSR Council of Ministers (4 May 1960 - 15 Oct 1964). In 1960 he was elected a full member of the Presidium (4 May 1960 - 29 Mar 1966). Kosygin did not play any role in dismissal of Khrushchev in October 1964, but he took over as chairman of the Council of Ministers of the USSR (15 Oct 1964) becoming the effective head of Soviet government, who shared power with Leonid Brezhnev and Nikolay Podgorny. In 1965 Kosygin introduced reforms targeted at modernizing the Soviet economy suffering from the failures in planning process and weak initiative of plant managers. He placed emphasis on the production of consumer goods, but the reforms were not accomplished as the party leadership directed by Leonid Brezhnev did not favor expanding light industry at the expense of heavy industry, which served for the arms race in 1970s. Kosygin helped preserve efficiency and discipline in the Soviet economy, but his political position weakened. He was a full member of the Politburo (8 Apr 1966 - 21 Oct 1980), but a Central Committee plenum relieved him of his duties as he became seriously ill in the fall of 1980. He was forced to sign his resignation in hospital, which was announced at the session of Supreme Soviet on 23 Oct 1980. Kosygin died less than two months later.
Biography source: