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Alexey Alexandrovich Kuznetsov (February 20 [O.S. February 7] 1905, Borovichi—October 1, 1950, Moscow) was a Soviet statesman, CPSU (since 1925) functionary, Lieutenant General, member of CPSU Central Committee (1939-1949).
He was Second Secretary (deputy leader) to Leningrad CPSU gorkom (city committee) and obkom (oblast committee), and, during the Siege of Leningrad, helped organize the city's defense. For his work during the siege, he was promoted to First Secretary in 1945.
Zhdanov was thought to want Kuznetsov to replace him as CC Party Chairman. Kuznetsov was also believed to be a possible replacement for Stalin on the latter's death. He was a strong supporter of Stalin, who appointed him to head the security functions of the party, showing how much the Soviet leader trusted him.
Kuznetsov helped Zhdanov to remove Malenkov and in 1946 replaced Beria as curator of the MGB. This replacement may have reminded Beria of how Yezhov was elevated in order to remove Yagoda in the 1930s. The supposition is that these acts would ensure the enmity of both Malenkov and Beria.
The beginning of Kuznetsov’s fall came when Stalin demoted him and returned him to a minor post in Leningrad (a frequent sign that the subject was destined for a final fall). This may have been because Kuznetsov had been digging into Kirov's death - suspicion of Stalin’s involvement in this murder has never been put to rest. Eventually Kuznetsov was arrested, tried and sentenced to death in a secret trial during the Leningrad Affair. He was executed in 1950.
His death consolidated the power of Malenkov, Beria and Bulganin – with the inference that they may have been involved in the charges – fabricated or not.
He was rehabilitated posthumously.