Ivashko, Volodymyr

Ivashko, Volodymyr [Івашко, Володимир; Ivaško], b 28 October 1932 in Poltava, d 13 November 1994 in Moscow. Soviet Ukrainian Communist Party official, second-to-last first secretary of the Communist Party of Ukraine (CPU), and first, last, and only deputy general secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU). He graduated as a mining engineer from the Kharkiv Mining Institute in 1956 and obtained a candidate’s degree in 1969. Beginning in 1957, he taught at various postsecondary institutions in Kharkiv, but soon moved into Party work (joining the CPSU in 1960). In 1973 he was appointed head of the science and education department of the CPU Kharkiv oblast committee, and in 1978, a secretary of the oblast committee. In 1986 he became a secretary of the CC CPU and a candidate member of its Politburo. In April 1987, he was transferred to Dnipropetrovsk as first secretary of the Party oblast committee, and in January 1988, promoted to full Politburo member. In December 1988 he returned to Kyiv as second secretary, and on 28 September 1989, he replaced Volodymyr Shcherbytsky as first secretary of the CPU. Having been a candidate member of the CPSU Central Committee since 1986, and a full member since April 1989, he was also made a full member of the CPSU Politburo in December 1989. Elected as a member of the CPSU to the USSR Council of People’s Deputies in March 1989, he was also a member of the USSR Supreme Soviet. In March 1989, he was likewise elected to the Supreme Soviet of the Ukrainian SSR, and served as its chairman from 4 June until 11 July 1990, when he resigned (and was suceeded by Stanislav Hurenko) in order to take up the newly-created position of Deputy General Secretary (to Mikhail Gorbachev) of the CPSU in Moscow. He held that post until the banishment of the CPSU in September 1991; he was thus General Secretary of the CPSU for five days following Gorbachev’s resignation on 24 August 1991. Among his contemporaries, unlikeliest of all Stepan Khmara, he was remembered as the best speaker the Supreme Soviet of the Ukrainian SSR ever had, an intelligent and tolerant leader..

Bohdan Harasymiw

[This article was written in 2019.]

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