Volodymyr Shcherbytsky

Volodymyr Shcherbytsky
Володи́мир Щерби́цький
First Secretary of the Communist Party of Ukraine
In office
25 May 1972  28 September 1989
Preceded by Petro Shelest
Succeeded by Vladimir Ivashko
Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic
In office
23 October 1965  25 May 1972
Preceded by Ivan Kazanets
Succeeded by Oleksandr Liashko
In office
28 February 1961  26 June 1963
Preceded by Nikifor Kalchenko
Succeeded by Ivan Kazanets
First Secretary of the Dnipropetrovsk Regional Committee of the Communist Party of Ukraine
In office
7 July 1963  23 October 1965
Preceded by Nikita Tolubeev
Succeeded by Oleksiy Vatchenko
In office
December 1955  December 1957
Preceded by Andrei Kirilenko
Succeeded by Anton Gayevoy
Full member of the 24th , 25th, 26th, 27th Politburo
In office
9 April 1971  20 September 1989
Candidate member of the 22nd Politburo
In office
6 December 1965  8 April 1966
In office
31 October 1961  13 December 1963
Full member of the 22nd, 23rd, 24th, 25th, 26th, 27th Central Committee
In office
31 October 1961  31 October 1983
Personal details
Born (1918-02-17)17 February 1918
Verkhnodniprovsk, Ukrainian People's Republic
Died 16 February 1990 (aged 71)
Kiev, Ukrainian SSR, Soviet Union
Nationality Ukrainian
Political party Communist Party of the Soviet Union

Volodymyr Vasylyovych Shcherbytsky (Ukrainian: Володи́мир Васи́льович Щерби́цький IPA: [vɔlɔˈdɪmɪr vɐˈsɪlʲɔvɪt͡ʃ ʃt͡ʃerˈbɪt͡sʲkɪj], Russian: Влади́мир Васи́льевич Щерби́цкий, IPA: [vlɐˈdʲimʲɪr vɐˈsʲilʲɪvʲɪt͡ɕ ɕːɪrˈbʲit͡skʲɪj]; 17 February 1918, Verkhnodniprovsk — 16 February 1990) was a Ukrainian and Soviet politician. He was a leader of the Communist Party of Ukraine from 1972 to 1989. During World War II, he participated in the invasion of Iran by the Soviet forces (see Iran crisis of 1946).


An influential figure in the Soviet Union, a member of Soviet politburo since 1971, he was a close ally to Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev. His rule of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic was characterized by the expanded policies of re-centralisation and suppression of dissent. While supporting Russification policies, he still allowed the Ukrainian language to keep circulating side-by-side with Russian in this traditionally bilingual republic. Scherbytsky's power base was arguably one of the most corrupt and conservative among the Soviet republics.[1]

Shcherbytsky is sometimes held responsible for concealing the real scale of the Chernobyl Accident even to the central government in Moscow and for holding a May Day demonstration in Kiev only five days after the accident happened, when the public was still severely exposed to nuclear radiation.

On 20 September 1989, Shcherbytsky lost his membership of the politburo in a purge of conservative members pushed through by Mikhail Gorbachev.[2] Eight days later he was removed from leadership of the Communist Party of Ukraine at a plenum in Kiev personally presided over by Gorbachev.[3]

Shcherbytsky died on 16 February 1990 after a long illness.[4]


Volodymyr Shcherbytsky was twice awarded the Hero of Socialist Labour — in 1974 and 1977. During his public service he also received numerous other civil and state awards and recognitions, including the Order of Lenin (in 1958, 1968, 1971, 1973, 1977, 1983 and 1988), the Order of October Revolution (in 1978 and 1982), the Order of the Patriotic War, I class (in 1985) and various medals.[5]


In 1985 Leonid Kravchuk who was a secretary of Communist Party of Ukraine about ideological matters was preparing a report for Shcherbytsky for the next party committee gatherings following a plenum of the Central Committee of Communist Party of the Soviet Union. In his report Kravchuk mentioned a word perestroika. As soon as Shcherbytsky had heard the word, he stopped Kravchuk and asked.


  1. Democratic Changes and Authoritarian Reactions in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova By Karen Dawisha, Bruce Parrott. Cambridge University Press, 1997 ISBN 0-521-59732-3, ISBN 978-0-521-59732-6. p. 337
  2. Garthoff, Raymond L. (1994). The Great Transition: American-Soviet Relations and the End of the Cold War. Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution. p. 393. ISBN 0-8157-3060-8.
  3. Garthoff, Raymond L. (1994). The Great Transition: American-Soviet Relations and the End of the Cold War. Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution. p. 397. ISBN 0-8157-3060-8.
  4. "Vladimir Shcherbitsky, 71, Dies; Former Ukraine Communist Chief". The New York Times. Associated Press. 18 February 1990.
  5. http://www.kmu.gov.ua/control/uk/publish/article?showHidden=1&art_id=1261563&cat_id=661258
  6. http://www.istpravda.com.ua/articles/2011/09/10/53558/
  7. https://web.archive.org/web/20180421235708/http://vz.ua/publication/21329-vladimir_shcherbitskii_poslednii_ukrainskii_sekretar
Party political offices
Preceded by
Petro Shelest
1st Secretary of the Communist Party of Ukraine
Succeeded by
Vladimir Ivashko
Preceded by
Andriy Kyrylenko
Mykyta Tolubeyev
1st Secretary of the Communist Party of Dnipropetrovsk Oblast
Succeeded by
Anton Hayevyi
Oleksiy Vatchenko
Political offices
Preceded by
Nykyfor Kalchenko
Ivan Kazanets
Prime Minister of Ukraine (Ukrainian SSR)
Succeeded by
Ivan Kazanets
Oleksandr Liashko
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