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Ministry of Health (Soviet Union)

Updated: 2017-06-12T17:01Z
Ministry of Health of the USSR
Министерство здравоохранения СССР
Ministerstvo zdravookhraneniya SSSR
Coat of arms of the Soviet Union.svg
All ministry seals of the Soviet Union used the Soviet coat of arms
Agency overview
Formed16 July 1923
Preceding agency
Dissolved15 November 1991
Superseding agency
JurisdictionUnion of Soviet Socialist Republics
HeadquartersMoscow, RSFSR, Soviet Union

The Ministry of Health (MOH) of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) (Министерство здравоохранения СССР), formed on 15 March 1946, was one of the most important government offices in the Soviet Union. It was formerly (until 1946) known as the People's Commissariat for Health (Народный комиссариат здравоохранения). The Ministry, at the all-Union level, was established on 6 July 1923, after the signing of the Treaty on the Creation of the USSR, and was, in turn, based upon the People's Commissariat for Health of the RSFSR formed in 1917. The Ministry was led by the Minister of Health, prior to 1946 a Commissar, who was nominated by the Chairman of the Council of Ministers and confirmed by the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet, and was a member of the Council of Ministers.

Duties and responsibilities

The main duties of the ministry were to develop and to prepare these for legislation and to maintain a decent level of health organisation in the USSR. The ministry missariat monitored and supervised the application of standards and measures to improve Soviet health care. According to the July 1936 decree establishing the People's Commissariat for Health, the commissariat had control over all financial assets related or linked to health care. As such, the ministry controlled all financial functions regarding health. It coordinated medical personnel all over the country, but also local council deputies.[1] MOH was obliged to take active measures against deficiencies in the health care system, and to further develop and implement measures to improve it.[2]

The MOH, with the help of other ministries and Soviet institutions, was responsible for the construction of new medical institutions around the country. Maintenance of hospital and other medical institutions were carried out by the MOH and the State Committee for Construction.[2] According to the Regulations on the Ministry of Health of the USSR, MOH was responsible for maintenance and the construction of public health care services, and organising and conducting forensic medical and forensic psychiatric examination and establishing public pharmaceutical services. It was also assigned to develop and publish guidelines on organising and improving curative and preventive care, maternal and child health and to oversee the formulation of therapeutic and preventive work in health care.[3]

The competence of the MOH within the jurisdiction of the USSR was periodically reviewed by the Council of Ministers.[3]


The Ministry of Health was an all-union ministry, which meant that it controlled the fifteen ministries of health of the union republics.[4] The union health ministries, in turn, were in charge of the autonomous oblasts and district health departments. The union ministries, along with the oblasts and the district health departments, were in control of the public hospitals and medicine in their area.[5]


A July 1936 decree by the Central Executive Committee and the Council of People's Commissars established the People's Commissariat for Health. Grigory Kaminsky, having served as People's Commissar for Health of the RSFSR, became the first commissar of the all-union commissariat for health. Kaminsky was arrested in 1938 after his speech in 1937 which denounced the ongoing stalinist repression in the country (Great Purge). In a very short period of time since the formation of the commissariat, the diseases and viruses which had for a long time been a major problem had been eliminated.[1] In 1946, the People's Commissariat for Health was renamed Ministry of Health.[6]

Commissars and ministers

The following persons headed the Commissariat/Ministry as commissars (narkoms), ministers, and deputy ministers of the Soviet time:

NameTook officeLeft officeDuration
People's Commissar for Health of the USSR
Kaminsky, GrigoryGrigory Kaminsky20 July 193626 June 1937341 days
Boldyrev, MikhailMikhail Boldyrev2 August 193716 July 1938348 days
Miterev, GeorgeGeorge Miterev8 September 193915 March 19466 years, 188 days
Minister of Health of the USSR
Miterev, GeorgeGeorge Miterev19 March 194617 February 1947335 days
Smirnov, YefimYefim Smirnov17 February 19479 December 19525 years, 296 days
Tretyakov, AndreyAndrey Tretyakov27 January 19531 March 19541 year, 33 days
Kovrigina, MariaMaria Kovrigina1 March 195412 January 19594 years, 317 days
Kurashov, SergeiSergei Kurashov12 January 195927 August 19656 years, 227 days
Petrovsky, BorisBoris Petrovsky8 September 196512 December 198015 years, 95 days
Burenkov, SergeiSergei Burenkov12 December 198026 December 19866 years, 14 days
Chazov, YevgeniyYevgeniy Chazov17 February 198729 March 19903 years, 40 days
Denisov, IgorIgor Denisov18 April 199026 November 19911 year, 222 days

See also


  1. ^ a b Sorokina, Tatyana. История медицины [History of Medicine] (in Russian). Retrieved 14 October 2010. 
  2. ^ a b Government of the USSR. О МЕРАХ ПО ДАЛЬНЕЙШЕМУ УЛУЧШЕНИЮ ЗДРАВООХРАНЕНИЯ И РАЗВИТИЮ МЕДИЦИНСКОЙ НАУКИ В СТРАНЕ [On measures to further enhance the health and development of medical science in the country]. Great Soviet Encyclopaedia (in Russian). Retrieved 25 October 2010. 
  3. ^ a b Government of the USSR. К разработке основ законодательства о здравоохранении [To develop a legal framework on public health] (in Russian). Business Law Institute of The State University of Management. Retrieved 25 October 2010. 
  4. ^ Feldbrugge, Ferdinand J. (1993). Russian Law: The End of the Soviet System and the Role of Law. Martinus Nijhoff Publishers. p. 160. ISBN 0-7923-2359-9. 
  5. ^ Filtzer, Donald A. (2002). Soviet workers and late Stalinism: labour and the restoration of the Stalinist system after World War II. Cambridge University Press. p. 109. ISBN 0-521-81503-7. 
  6. ^ Здравоохранение: Значение слова "Здравоохранение" [Health: Meaning of the word "health"]. Great Soviet Encyclopaedia (in Russian). Retrieved 25 October 2010. 

External links

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