Andrey Andreevich Gromyko

b. July 18, 1909, Starye Gromyki, Belorussia, Russian Empire [now in Belarus]d. July 2, 1989

    Soviet foreign minister (1957-85) and president (1985-88) of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the U.S.S.R. For half of the XX century Andrey Gromyko hold high positions in the Soviet Union, serving under every Soviet leader from Stalin to Gorbachev. The latter came to power due to his active help.

    As Soviet foreign minister he met and negotiated with almost every leader throughout the world. Many consider him to be the most outstanding diplomat of the XX century. 

    Andrey Gromyko took part in creation of the United Nations and signed its Charter in San Francisco. He used his diplomatic skills to promote many agreements on disarmament which up till now stabilise global security. 

    Gromyko was born in a Belorussian village, the son of a peasant, and attended an agricultural school in Minsk, studying agricultural economics. After completing postgraduate studies in 1936, he served as senior research associate at the Institute of Economics of the Soviet Academy of Sciences. Gromyko was appointed chief of the U.S. division of the People's Commissariat of Foreign Affairs in 1939. The same year he was appointed counsellor at the Soviet Embassy in Washington, D.C. In 1943 he became ambassador to the United States (at the young age of 34) and in 1946 became a representative to the UN Security Council. He was promoted to deputy foreign minister in 1946 and further to first deputy foreign minister in 1949. In 1952 he became a candidate member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party and was appointed ambassador to the United Kingdom. In 1953 he returned to Moscow as deputy foreign minister, resuming his post as first deputy foreign minister in 1954. In 1956 he attained full membership on the Central Committee.

    In 1957 Gromyko began his long tenure as foreign minister. He became renowned for his extensive knowledge of international affairs and for his negotiating skills, and he was entrusted with major diplomatic missions and policy statements. He frequently accompanied other Soviet leaders, including Nikita S. Khrushchev and Leonid Brezhnev on visits to foreign leaders. He became a member of the Politburo in 1973 and was named a first deputy chairman of the Council of Ministers in 1983. 

    After Mikhail Gorbachev became head of the Soviet Communist Party in 1985 Gromyko was promoted to the presidency, a position that carried great prestige but less power. Gromyko gave up his presidency of the Supreme Soviet on Sept. 30, 1988. His autobiography "Andrey Gromyko. Memories." was published in Russian in 1988 and in English in 1990 by "Hutchinson". 

    Andrey Gromyko is remembered in Russia as a great diplomat who promoted the interests of the Soviet Union as a superpower. On 29 June 1999 a conference was held in Moscow to commemorate the 90th anniversary since his birth. Foreign minister of Russia Igor Ivanov highly praised his diplomatic professionalism.