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People's Commissar

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From 1919 to 1946, functions of ministers in the government of Russia and, later, the Soviet Union were performed by People's Commissars (Russian title: Narodny Komissar, or Narkom). A ministry was called People's Commissariat (Russian: Narkomat), whose main governing body was the Council of People's Commissars (Russian: Sovnarkom).

Communists wanted to create a government of workers and peasants. Traditionally, government is a council of ministers nominated by a ruler or by a president. This was a bourgeois institution, in communist thinking. In Soviet Russia, state of workers and peasants, there were no place for such thing. There was no president and no parliament. Revolution gave whole power to local workers, peasants and soldiers councils (soviets). The Second all-Russian Congress of Soviets (1917) introduced and elected the Council of People's Commissars (Sovnarkom) to manage Russia in the name of working people. The Chairman of the Council of People's Commissars, also elected by Congress of Soviets, had a function of prime minister. The first Chairman of Sovnarkom was Vladimir Lenin.

In 1946, Narkoms were renamed into Ministers, as a part of the reorganization of the Sovnarkom into Sovmin.

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