Obituary: Dinmukhamed Kunayev

Dinmukhamed Akhmedovich Kunayev, politician: born Verny, Kazakhstan 12 January 1912; First Secretary, Central Committee, Kazakh Communist Party 1964-86; married; died 22 August 1993.

DINMUKHAMED KUNAYEV was one of the last surviving representatives of the corrupt Communist era in one of the largest republics of the former Soviet Union. For 22 years he was the autocratic ruler of the Soviet republic of Kazakhstan. He served Stalin and Khrushchev and became a close ally of Leonid Brezhnev. He was eventually fired by Mikhail Gorbachev.

Born Dinmukhamed Akhmedovich Kunayev in 1912 in Verny, after 1921 renamed as Alma-Ata, the capital of the former Kazakh Soviet Socialist republic, he was the son of a Kazakh clerk. In 1936 he graduated from the Institute of Non-Ferrous and Fine Metallurgy in Moscow, and the same year began his career as a machine operator. Three years later he was engineer-in-chief of the Pribalkhashatroi mine, a position offered him on condition that he joined the Communist Party.

From that time Kunayev held senior executive positions in the mining industry. During the Second World War he became involved too in politics. In 1942 he was promoted to his first political post, as a deputy chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Kazakh SSR, a post he held for 12 years. After the war, in 1947, he became a deputy in the Kazakh SSR Supreme Soviet, a position he occupied later three times - in 1951, 1955 and 1959. In 1950 he was promoted as a deputy to the USSR Supreme Soviet, a post he later occupied twice - in 1954 and 1958. He was President of Kazakh SSR Academy of Sciences from 1952 to 1955.

It was Nikita Khrushchev who promoted Kunayev in 1955 to become chairman of the Council of Ministers of Kazakh SSR, a post he held until 1960; he was simultaneously twice a senior member of the Presidium of Kazakh Supreme Soviet, in 1955 and 1959. In 1956 Khrushchev backed Kunayev's candidature for membership of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. In 1964 he became First Secretary of the Central Committee of Kazakh Communist Party.

After Khrushchev's disappearance from political life in October 1964 Kunayev allied himself with Leonid Brezhnev, who in 1966 again promoted him as a candidate member of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union; in 1971 he became a full member.

Under Brezhnev Kunayev become the ruthless, autocratic ruler of his native republic Kazakhstan which he remained for the next 22 years. He used to come to Moscow and stay in a Politburo house guarded by the KGB and join Brezhnev's drinking parties, dinners and hunting sessions outside Moscow.

In 1954 Kunayev was a member of a Soviet cultural delegation to China. Two years later he was a member of a Supreme Soviet delegtation to Britain and in 1960 a member of a government delegation to the United States. He was holder of eight Orders of Lenin and numerous other political awards.

Dinmukhamed Kunayev's rule was marked by extraordinary corruption and in December 1986 Mikhail Gorbachev fired him from all his posts. His Communist supporters staged disturbances all over the country when he was replaced by a Russian party functionary, Gennady Kolbin.

(Photograph omitted)

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Recruitment Genius: HR and Payroll Manager

£35000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This dynamic outsourced contact...

Recruitment Genius: Production & Quality Control Assistant

£19000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An excellent opportunity for a ...

Ashdown Group: Group HR Advisor - Kettering - £32,000

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Group HR Advisor with an established...

Guru Careers: HR Manager / HR Generalist

£40 - 50k (DOE) + Bonus: Guru Careers: We are seeking a HR Manager / HR Genera...

Day In a Page

Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

How to make your own Easter egg

Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

Cricket World Cup 2015

Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing