World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Dmitri Shepilov

Article Id: WHEBN0004333048
Reproduction Date:

Title: Dmitri Shepilov  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: 20th Presidium of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, Nikita Petrovich Panin, Ivan Osterman, Alexander Vorontsov, Afanasy Ordin-Nashchokin
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Dmitri Shepilov

Dmitri Shepilov
Дмитрий Шепилов
Dmitri Shepilov in 1955
Minister of Foreign Affairs
In office
1 June 1956 – 15 February 1957
Premier Nikolai Bulganin
Preceded by Vyacheslav Molotov
Succeeded by Andrei Gromyko
Editor-in-chief of Pravda
In office
Preceded by Leonid Ilichev
Succeeded by Pavel Satyukov
Head of the Propaganda Department of the Central Committee
In office
20 July 1949 – 27 October 1952
Preceded by Post established
(Mikhail Suslov as Propaganda and Agitation Department head)
Succeeded by Mikhail Suslov
Candidate member of the 19th Presidium
In office
27 February 1956 – 29 June 1957
Member of the 19th, 20th Secretariat
In office
14 February – 29 June 1957
In office
7 December – 24 December 1956
Personal details
Born Dmitri Trofimovich Shepilov
5 November [O.S. 23 October] 1905
Ashgabat, Russian Empire
Died 18 August 1995(1995-08-18) (aged 89)
Moscow, Russia
Nationality Soviet and Russian
Political party Communist Party of the Soviet Union
Profession Economist

Dmitri Trofimovich Shepilov (Russian: Дми́трий Трофи́мович Шепи́лов, Dmitrij Trofimovič Šepilov; 5 November [O.S. 23 October] 1905 – 8 August 1995) was a Soviet politician and Minister of Foreign Affairs who joined the abortive plot to oust Nikita Khrushchev from power in 1957.


Dmitri Shepilov was born in Askhabad in (current capital of Turkmenistan) the Transcaspian Oblast of the Russian Empire in a working-class family of Russian ethnicity.[1] He graduated from the Law School of the Moscow State University in 1926 and was sent to work in Yakutsk, where he worked as a deputy prosecutor and acting prosecutor for Yakutia. In 1928–1929 Shepilov worked as an assistant regional prosecutor in Smolensk. In 1931–1933 Shepilov studied at the Institute of Red Professors[2] in Moscow while simultaneously working as the "responsible secretary" of the magazine On the Agrarian Front. After graduating in 1933, Shepilov was made head of the political department of a sovkhoz. In 1935 he was made Deputy Chief of the Sector of Agricultural Science of the Central Committee of the Soviet Communist Party.

In 1937 Shepilov became a Doctor of Science and was made the Scientific Secretary of the Institute of Economics of the Soviet Academy of Sciences. He also taught economics in Moscow's colleges between 1937 and 1941.

Shortly after the beginning of Operation Barbarossa, Shepilov joined the Soviet People's Militia (Narodnoe Opolcheniye) in July 1941 and was a Political commissar of its Moscow component during the Battle of Moscow in 1941–1942. In 1942–1943 he was the political commissar of the 23rd Guard Army and in 1944–1946 of the 4th Guard Army, ending the war with the rank of Major General. Between May 1945 and February 1946, Shepilov was one of the top Soviet officials in Vienna during the early stages of the Soviet occupation of eastern parts of Austria.

Early career

In February 1946, Shepilov was appointed deputy head of the Propaganda and Agitation Department of the Soviet Army's Main Political Directorate. On 2 August 1946 he became the head of the propaganda department of the main Communist Party daily Pravda.

In mid-1947, the head of the Propaganda and Agitation Department of the Communist Party Central Committee Mikhail Suslov, had other responsibilities, Shepilov had almost complete control of the Department's day-to-day operations.

While in Moscow, Shepilov– famous for his near-eidetic memory, erudition and polished manners– became an expert on Communist ideology and a protégé of Joseph Stalin's chief of Communist ideology Andrei Zhdanov.[3] 1 December 1947 appointment of Yuri Zhdanov, Andrei Zhdanov's son, to lead the Propaganda Department's Science Sector put Shepilov in a delicate position of supervising his patron's son. The situation was made even more delicate by the fact that Yuri Zhdanov had just married Joseph Stalin's daughter Svetlana and the fact that Andrei Zhdanov, Stalin's closest advisor at the time, had many enemies in the Soviet leadership.

When in April 1948 Shepilov approved Yuri Zhdanov's speech critical of Soviet biologist and Stalin favorite Politburo member Nikolai Voznesensky. However, on 14 July 1949, he was censured by the Central Committee for allowing the Party's main theoretical magazine Bolshevik to publish Voznesensky's book on economics back when Voznesensky was still in power.[5]

In 1952 Stalin put Shepilov in charge of writing a new Soviet economics textbook based on Stalin's recently published treatise Economic Problems of Socialism in the USSR.[6] On 18 November 1952, after the 19th Communist Party Congress, Shepilov was appointed editor-in-chief of Pravda.[7]

Khrushchev's theoretician

After Stalin's death in March 1953, Shepilov became an ally and protégé of the new Soviet Communist Party leader Nikita Khrushchev,[8] providing ideological support in the latter's struggle with the Soviet prime minister Corresponding Member of the Soviet Academy of Sciences the same year. While Malenkov argued in favor of producing more consumer goods, Shepilov emphasized the role of heavy and defense industries and characterized Malenkov's position as follows:

In February 1955 Malenkov was ousted as prime minister while Shepilov was elected one of the Secretaries of the Central Committee on 12 July 1955. He retained his Pravda post and became a senior Communist theoretician, contributing to Khrushchev's famous "secret speech" denouncing Stalin at the 20th Party Congress in February 1956.[10]

Minister of Foreign Affairs

Even though his field was Communist ideology, Shepilov soon began to branch out into foreign policy. In late May 1955 he accompanied Khrushchev and the new Soviet prime minister Nikolai Bulganin to Yugoslavia to end the confrontation between the two countries which had begun in 1947–1948. According to Veljko Mićunović, then a member of the Yugoslav leadership:

At a lunch with Tito in 1955, Khrushchev several times asked Shepilov to confirm an incident he had just described. "Shepilov would remove the table napkin," Micunovic recalled, "stand up from the table, and as though he were reporting officially, would reply: 'Just so, Nikita Sergeyevich!' and sit down again. I found such behavior on Shepilov's part most unusual, as I did Khrushchev's in tolerating it".[11]

In July 1955 Shepilov traveled to Egypt for talks with the Egyptian leader Gamal Abdel Nasser and secured an arms deal, which meant de facto Soviet recognition of Egypt's military regime and paved the way for subsequent Soviet-Egyptian alliance.[12] It also signaled the Soviet Union's new found flexibility in dealing with non-Communist Third World countries in marked contrast to the intransigence of Stalin's years. On 27 February 1956, after the Soviet Communist Party's 20th Congress, Shepilov was made a candidate (non-voting) member of the Central Committee's Presidium (the Politburo's name in 1952–1966).[13]

On 1 June 1956, Shepilov replaced Vyacheslav Molotov as the Soviet foreign minister. He gave up his Pravda post, but remained a Secretary of the Central Committee until 24 December.[14] In early June 1956 Shepilov went back to Egypt and offered Soviet assistance in building the Aswan Dam, which was eventually accepted after a competing American-World Bank offer was withdrawn in July 1956 in the context of general deterioration of Western-Egyptian relations.

On 27 July 1956, one day after Nasser announced the nationalization of the Suez Canal Company, Shepilov met the Egyptian ambassador to the Soviet Union and offered general support for Egypt's position, which Khrushchev made official in his 31 July speech. Although the Soviet Union, as a signatory to the Constantinople Convention of 1888, was invited to the international conference on the Suez issue to be held in London in mid-August, Shepilov at first hesitated to accept the offer. However, once the decision to go was made, he led the Soviet delegation at the conference. Although the conference adopted the American resolution on the internationalization of the Suez Canal 18 votes against 4, Shepilov succeeded in striking an alliance with India, Indonesia and Ceylon as directed by the Soviet leadership.

Shepilov represented the Soviet Union at the UN Security Council during the 1956 Hungarian Revolution and the Suez Crisis in October–November 1956, although all important political decisions were made by Khrushchev and other top Soviet leaders.[15]

Post-Ministership and resignation

On 14 February 1957 Shepilov was once again made Secretary of the Central Committee[16] responsible for Communist [18]

Shepilov was the only Central Committee Secretary to oppose Khrushchev in June 1957 when a majority of the Presidium members tried to oust Khrushchev during the so-called Georgy Zhukov and perhaps that was one of the reasons why a few months later Zhukov himself was removed from the office.

After losing his Central Committee positions, Shepilov was sent to Kyrgyzstan to head the Economics Institute of the local Academy of Sciences, but was soon demoted to deputy director. In 1960 he was recalled to Moscow, expelled from the Soviet Academy of Sciences and sent to the Soviet State Archive (Gosarkhiv) to work as a clerk, where he remained until his retirement in 1982. Following a second wave of denunciations of the "Anti-Party Group" at the 22nd Communist Party Congress in November 1961, Shepilov was expelled from the Communist Party on 21 February 1962. In 1976 he was allowed to re-join the Communist Party, but remained on the sidelines.

When Khrushchev was ousted as the Soviet leader in October 1964, Shepilov began working on his memoirs, a project which he continued intermittently until circa 1970. His papers were lost after his death at age 89 in Moscow, but were eventually found and published in 2001.

Political offices
Preceded by
Vyacheslav Molotov
Minister of Foreign Affairs of the USSR
Succeeded by
Andrei Gromyko


  1. ^ [2]
  2. ^ William Taubman. Khrushchev: The Man and His Era, New York, W. W. Norton and Co., 2003, ISBN 0-393-05144-7 p.314.
  3. ^ Transcripts of frank conversations between Zhdanov and Shepilov in Jonathan Brent and Vladimir Naumov. Stalin's Last Crime: The Plot Against the Jewish Doctors, 1948–1953, Harper Collins Publishers, 2003, ISBN 0-06-093310-0 p.79.
  4. ^ See Alexei Kojevnikov. "Games of Stalinist Democracy: ideological discussions in the Soviet sciences 1947–1952" in Stalinism: New Directions, ed. Sheila Fitzpatrick, London, Routledge, ISBN 0-415-15234-8 p.158-159
  5. ^ Current Digest of the Soviet Press, Volume 4, No. 50, 24 January 1953, p. 15.
  6. ^ I primknuvshii k nim Shepilov: pravda o cheloveke uchyonom, voine, politike, eds. Tamara Tochanova and Mikhail Lozhnikov, Moscow, 1998, pp. 127–28, 180–82, 281–82
  7. ^ See Yoram Gorlizki, Oleg V Khlevniuk. Cold Peace: Stalin and the Soviet Ruling Circle, 1945–1953, Oxford University Press, 2004, ISBN 0-19-516581-0 p.215
  8. ^ Taubman, op. cit., p.313.
  9. ^ Pravda, January 24, 1955. Quoted in Lawrence Freedman. The Evolution of Nuclear Strategy, New York, Palgrave Macmillan, 2003 (third edition), ISBN 0-312-02843-1 p.140
  10. ^ Roger D. Markwick. Rewriting History in Soviet Russia, New York, Palgrave, 2001, ISBN 0-333-79209-2 p.262, note 146
  11. ^ Quoted in Taubman, op. cit., p. 312
  12. ^ Rami Ginat. The Soviet Union and Egypt, 1945–1955, London, Frank Cass and Company Ltd., 1993, ISBN 0-7146-3486-7 pp. 213–214.
  13. ^ USSR: Communist Party: Presidium at
  14. ^ Since Central Committee Secretaries were only appointed and dismissed by infrequent Central Committee plenary meetings, Shepilov formally retained the post until the next meeting
  15. ^ Laurent Rucker. "The Soviet Union and the Suez Crisis", in The 1956 War: Collusion and Rivalry in the Middle East, ed. David Tal, London, Frank Cass Publishers, 2001, ISBN 0-7146-4394-7 pp.67–82.
  16. ^ USSR: Communist Party: Secretariat at
  17. ^ L.N. Lebedinsky. "Rayok: The Music Lesson" in Modernism and Music: An Anthropology of Sources, ed. Daniel Albright, University of Chicago, 2004, ISBN 0-226-01267-0 p.363. Also see Daniel Zhitomirsky. "Shostakovich the public and the private: reminiscences, materials, comments" in Daugava, 1990, No. 3. An English translation is available online as of March 2006
  18. ^ Quoted in David Caute. The Dancer Defects: The Struggle for Cultural Supremacy During the Cold War, Oxford University Press, 2003, ISBN 0-19-924908-3 p.457
  19. ^ Taubman. op. cit., p.313.


  • Russian: Шепилов Д.Т. Непримкнувший. Воспоминания Издательство «ВАГРИУС», 2001. ISBN 5-264-00505-2
  • English: Dmitrii Shepilov The Kremlin Scholar A Memoir of Soviet Politics Under Stalin and Chruščiov Yale University Press, cop. 2007
In English
  • Speech at the 20th Congress of the C. P. S. U., 15 February 1956, Moscow, Foreign Languages Publishing House, 1956, 28 p.
  • The Suez Problem, Moscow, Foreign Languages Publishing House, 1956, 95p.
In Russian
  • Obshchestvennoe i lichnoe v kolkhozakh, 1939, 79p.
  • Velikij sovetskij narod, Moscow, 1947, 47p.
  • I. V. Stalin o kharaktere ekonomicheskikh zakonov sotsializma, Moscow, Gosudarstvennoe izdatel'stwo politicheckoj literatury, 1952, 35p.
  • Pechat' w bor'be za dal'nejshij pod'em sel'skogo hozyajstwa, Moscow, Gosudarstvennoe izdatel'stwo politicheckoj literatury, 1954, 63p.
  • Za dal'nejshij rastsvet sovetskogo hudozhestvennogo tvorchestva, 1957, 31p.
  • Dmitry Shepilov. "Vospominaniia" in Voprosy istorii 1998, no. 4.
  • Шепилов Д.Т. Непримкнувший. Воспоминания Издательство «ВАГРИУС», 2001. ISBN 5-264-00505-2
  • Biography
  • K.A. Zalessky. Imperiya Stalina. Biograficheckij Entsiklopedicheskij slovar'. Moscow, Veche, 2000. ISBN 5-7838-0716-8
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.