Council of People's Commissars

Eumenis Megalopoulos | Apr 25, 2024

Table of Content


Council of People's Commissars (Russian: Совет народных коммисаров, Soviet narodnych kommisarov), with the Russian abbreviation Sovnarkom (Russian: совнарком), is a (anti-bourgeois) name coined by Trotsky in November 1917 for the Bolshevik cabinet. The prime minister (Lenin) carried the office title Chairman of the Council of People's Commissars. At the head of each ministry was a People's Commissar, assisted by a Collegium. In 1946, the Council of People's Commissars of the Soviet Union was replaced by a Council of Ministers.

From 1919 to 1946, the functions of ministers in the government of the RSFSR and later the Soviet Union were performed by the People's Commissars (Russian title: Narodny Komissar or Narkom). A ministry was called a People's Commissariat (Russian: Narkomat) and the main council of the country the Council of People's Commissars. All individual Soviet republics (the autonomous and sub-republics) had a Council of People's Commissars during this period.

In 1946, the Sovnarkom was renamed the Sovmin (Soviet ministrov). The people's commissars and people's commissariats became ministers and government departments.

The building of the Council of Ministers of the Soviet Union was located in the Moscow Kremlin next to the building of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet.

After the November Revolution in Germany, Reich Chancellor Friedrich Ebert established a Rat der Volksbeauftragten. After the election of the Weimar National Assembly in February 1919, the council was dissolved and replaced by a provisional government. The Rat der Volksbeaufragten consisted of: Friedrich Ebert (right wing SPD), Philipp Scheidemann (center wing SPD), Otto Landsberg (right wing SPD), Emil Barth (left wing USPD), Hugo Haase (right wing USPD) and Wilhelm Dittmann (right wing USPD).

After the assassination of Bavarian Prime Minister Kurt Eisner (USPD) in January 1919, his supporters decided to declare a socialist council republic with a Rat der Volksbeauftragten as the executive board of the Central Workers' and Soldiers' Council of Munich. This Rat der Volksbeauftragten was dominated by the anarchists Erik Mühsam, Gustav Landauer and some USPD members. In April 1919, the Communists took power in Bavaria. In May 1919, Munich was occupied by Free Corps; the "Red Raden Republic" was overthrown by the "White Government Forces."

A council republic with a Rat der Volksbeauftragten also briefly ruled in Spartakist (Communist) Bremen.

In 1919, the Hungarian Council Republic was established under the leadership of Communist Belá Kun, with a Council of People's Commissars answerable to a Central Workers' and Soldiers' Council. This council republic was ended by the Romanian army and the "White Army" of Admiral Miklós Horthy.


  1. Council of People's Commissars
  2. Raad van Volkscommissarissen
  3. ^ Pierre Broué, The "Bloc" of the Oppositions against Stalin
  4. ^ Lenin, Vladimir. "Eleventh Congress Of The R.C.P.(B.) March 27–April 2, 1922".
  5. ^ Getty, Origins of the great purges
  6. ^ Huskey, Eugene (1992). Executive power and Soviet politics: the rise and decline of the Soviet state. M.E. Sharpe. p. 281. ISBN 978-1-56324-059-1.
  7. a b ДЕКРЕТ ОБ УЧРЕЖДЕНИИ СОВЕТА НАРОДНЫХ КОМИССАРОВ, Принят II Всероссийским Съездом Советов Рабочих, Солдатских и Крестьянских Депутатов 27 октября 1917 года.
  8. 1,0 1,1 "О преобразовании Совета Народных Комиссаров СССР в Совет Министров СССР и Советов Народных Комиссаров Союзных и Автономных республик в Советы Министров Союзных и Автономных республик" 15 марта 1946 года [On Reforming the Council of People's Commissars into the Council of Ministers, and the Councils of People's Commissars of Union and Autonomous Republics into the Councils of Ministers of Union and Autonomous Republics, 15 March 1946]. Legislation of the USSR 1946-1952 (in Russian). World and Market Economy - Collection of Articles on Economy, Igor Averin.
  9. Huskey, Eugene (1992). Executive power and Soviet politics: the rise and decline of the Soviet state. USA: M.E. Sharpe. σελ. 281. ISBN 1-56324-059-9.
  10. Law, David A (1975). Russian civilization. New York: Ardent Media. σελ. 185. ISBN 0-8422-0529-2.
  11. C 1918 года — РСФСР.
  12. Всероссийский Центральный Исполнительный Комитет. Декрет об учреждении Совета Народных Комиссаров, утв. 27 октября 1917 года.
  13. О преобразовании Совета Народных Комиссаров СССР в Совет Министров СССР и Советов Народных Комиссаров союзных и автономных республик — в Советы Министров союзных и автономных республик: закон от 15 марта 1946 года (рус.) // Ведомости Верховного Совета СССР : сб. — 1946. — № 10.

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