Georgy Maximilianovich Malenkov (8 January 1902 [O.S. 26 December 1901] - 14 January 1988) was a Soviet politician who succeeded Joseph Stalin as leader of the Soviet Union in 1953.
Family connections with Vladimir Lenin sped his ascent within the Soviet leadership. By 1925 he was entrusted with overseeing the party's records. This brought him into contact with Joseph Stalin, then the de facto leader of the Soviet Union. As a result of this association, Malenkov became heavily involved in Stalin's purges, which decimated the Soviet Union's population and infrastructure. During World War II he was given sole responsibility for the Soviet missile program. From 1946 to 1947 he chaired the Council of Ministers Special Committee on rocket technology. Later he gained favour with Stalin by discrediting Marshal Georgy Zhukov and suppressing all glory associated with Leningrad during World War II in order to maintain Moscow's image as the nation's cultural capital.
Following Stalin’s death on 5 March 1953, Malenkov temporarily assumed leadership over both the party and the ministries comprising the nation's government. However, due to the Politburo's unease with concentrating power in the hands of one man after Stalin's rule, Malenkov agreed to relinquish control over the party apparatus (14 March 1953) while retaining the Chairmanship of the Council of Ministers. As Premier, Malenkov served as the Soviet Union's foremost policymaker before the Communist Party's First Secretary, Nikita Khrushchev, ultimately removed him from power in 1955. After Malenkov later organized a failed coup against Khrushchev in 1957, he was removed from the Politburo and exiled to Kazakhstan (1957) before ultimately being expelled from the party (November 1961).