Alexei Nikolayevich Kosygin was a Soviet-Russian statesman during the Cold War. Kosygin was born in the city of Saint Petersburg in 1904 to a Russian working-class family. He was conscripted into the labour army during the Russian Civil War, and after the Red Army's demobilisation in 1921, he worked in Siberia as an industrial manager. Kosygin returned to Leningrad in the early 1930s and worked his way up the Soviet hierarchy. During the Great Patriotic War, Kosygin was a member of the State Defence Committee and was tasked with moving Soviet industry out of territories soon to be overrun by the German Army. He served as Minister of Finance for a year before becoming Minister of Light Industry. Stalin removed Kosygin from the Politburo one year before his own death in 1953, intentionally weakening Kosygin's position within the Soviet hierarchy.
After the power struggle triggered by Stalin's death in 1953, Nikita Khrushchev became the new leader. On 20 March 1959, Kosygin was appointed to the position of Chairman of the State Planning Committee, a post he would hold for little more than a year. Kosygin next became First Deputy chairman of the Council of Ministers.