Kazy Dikambaevich Dikambaev

March 6th, 2016 Sections: Soviet Union, Who's Who
Kazy Dikambaevich Dikambaev in his heyday

Kazy Dikambaevich Dikambaev in his heyday

March 6th, 1958 … and the Kyrgyz Soviet Socialist Republic, (one of the 15 constituent republics of the USSR), got itself a new Prime Minister – although he wasn’t actually called that, rather he carried the title, Chairman of the Council of Ministers.

The man who assumed the post on that occasion was Kazy Dikambaevich Dikambaev.

It may not be a particularly well known name, not one that rings a lot of bells, … but in many ways, his was an interesting story.  It’s claimed that, he was a dynamic and charismatic leader … but, despite having achieved high office, he was a humble man, with tremendous organizational skills, knowledge and work ethic … and all that may have been the case, I don’t know enough to be able to pass comment.  He was certainly an able administrator and a considerable political player – as his record shows … hold many (if not most) key leadership positions in the government at one point or another.

He was born in 1913, into a peasant family in the village of Taldy Suu in the Przhevalski Uyezd (County – which included modern day Issyk Kul oblast of Kyrgyzstan and also some of what is now Chui and Naryn oblasts) of the Semirechenskyaya Oblast (Administrative Region – which covered the Eastern half of modern day Kyrgyzstan and a large swathe of Kazakhstan … and was named for the seven major rivers which defined the geography of the region)  of the Russian Empire … on October 25th.

Although practically everywhere else in the world apart from the vast Russian Empire, it was already November 7th – Russia still using the Old Style Julian Calendar, whereas most of the rest of the world had already, long before, switched to the Gregorian Calendar that we still use today.

A mere child at the time of the two major events that helped to shape the future of his homeland, Urkun (1916) and the changes brought about by the Great Socialist Revolution (which happened on his birthday in 1917), and there seems to be little information about any direct impact these might have had on him and his family … unlike many other future leaders of the country

Although there is not much information about his childhood and youth, he seems to have traveled widely as it is known that he graduated from preparatory courses at an institute in Ashgabat, which is when he learned to read and write, and was involved in the fighting with the Basmachi rebels in the 1920’s, eventually enrolling in the Central Asian Institute of Planning and Economics in Tashkent in 1932.

After graduating five years later, in 1937, he returned home to Kyrgyzstan where he worked as a Senior Economist at the State Planning Committee of the Kyrgyz SSR, (in those days it was spelt Kirghiz), and after two years becoming the Deputy Chairman of the State Planning Committee and, also, Chairman of the Frunze Oblplana – the planning organization for the capital.

The following year he formerly became a member of the Communist Party … and the Deputy Chairman of People’s Commissars and People’s Commissar of State Control of the Kyrgyz SSR for a four year stint – during the war years – when he was responsible for the production of resources needed for both use at the front and at home.

Then, in 1944, he went to Moscow for a six month training course in the Soviet Foreign Ministry, before taking up the post of People’s Commissar of Foreign Affairs (Minister of Foreign Affairs for the Kyrgyz SSR) … the first after the establishment of the position … a post he held until 1949.

At that time the Ministry played, primarily, an administrative role but Dikambaev was also responsible for laying the foundation of foreign policy and the development of Kyrgyz diplomacy, which is why the Foreign Ministry submitted a proposal to the government on how to memorialize Kazi Dikambayeva, by naming the Diplomatic Academy after him.

In 1948-9, he once again served as Deputy Chairman of the Kyrgyz SSR Council of Ministers before taking up the role as Secretary of Kyrgyzstan’s Management for industry and construction.

That was followed by two years as the the first secretary of the Frunze Regional Committee of Kyrgyzstan Administration and, at the same time, serving as Chairman of the Supreme Soviet (the equivalent of the Parliament) of the Kyrgyz SSR – (the equivalent of Speaker of the House).

Then, on 6th March, 1958, he became the Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Kyrgyz SSR – the equivalent of Prime Minister – a post he held until 10th May, 1961, when he was dismissed “for poor leadership and allowing serious shortcomings”.  Apparently some facts come to light that revealed additions and thefts in agriculture. Dismissal came in the form of ‘retirement’.

It was a busy time … during his term of office some major projects were undertaken or completed, including: construction of the  Big Chui Canal; thousands of kilometers highway including the Bishkek-Osh Highway (which was actually just part of a grander scheme extending into Batken as well), the railway line linking Frunze (Bishkek) with Rib’yachiye (Balykchy); The Hydro electric power stations of the Naryn cascade – a project still not completed.

One of the most interesting aspect of this time in his life was a pamphlet that he wrote – at least it carries his name: KIRGHIZIA – Complete Transformation of Former Backward Colony, (sic).  It was one of a series called Soviet Booklets, and part of a series dedicated to fifteen constituent republics of the USSR.  It was translated and published in English.

It’s 25 pages give an overall glimpse into the country … and especially its development under the Communist Party, from ‘backward colony’ of the title to a modern, industrial, socialist paradise, complete with character sketches to illustrate how even a former shepherd can advance and become one of the leaders of the nation.

It’s quite damning about the subjugation of the local population under the Tsarist yoke, and gives lots of examples of how the situation had improved, continuously improved, was still improving … and was expected to improve yet further (and one can see the Minister of Planning at work in presentation of statistics and the various predictions).

Covering the complete gambit of manufacturing, mining, hydroelectric power generation, agriculture, social development, education, health provision and the creative arts … it reads at times like a polemic … but gives an interesting insight into the politics and economics of Soviet Kyrgyzstan.

Dikambayeva Companions who came to the opening of the monument, said that he had “tremendous organizational skills, knowledge and work ethic.” Dikambayev held key leadership positions in the state and, according to his contemporaries, never sought any means to take one or other senior position

Even so, it looks as if is was a case of “the buck stops here” – and not one of personal culpability – because he was not not to remain inactive for long.  Later that year, he was appointed as Deputy Chairman of the State Planning Committee of the Kyrgyz SSR – almost back to where he had begun his career.

He was also granted the rank as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the USSR, (but I am not sure if he ever served anywhere), and as a deputy of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR for twelve years, (between 1950 and 1962), as well as that of the Kyrgyz SSR.

In 1986, he finally retired from public life … and lived as a private citizen until his death in 2010.

On 3rd November, 2012, a memorial was erected in his honour in the Ala Archa Cemetery – the closest equivalent we have to a National Cemetery.

He was married and had three children; two daughters and a son.

In recognition of his work he was awarded the Order of Lenin (twice), the Order of the Patriotic War (First degree), the Order of Red Banner of Labor and many medals of the Soviet Union, as well as the diploma of the Supreme Soviet of the Kyrgyz SSR, the Order of Manas Third degree and the title, Honored Economist of the Kirghiz SSR.


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