Kliment Yefremovich Voroshilov, Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR was born Jan. 23, 1881, Verkhneye, Bakhmut region, Yekaterinoslav province, Russia.
Military commander and prominent politician of the Soviet era, Kliment Voroshilov joined the Bolshevik party in 1903 and participated in the civil war in Russia. In 1918-1919, Voroshilov was a member of the Ukrainian provisional government and people's commissar for internal affairs. Organizing the defense of Tsaritsyn, he became closely associated with Joseph Stalin. Voroshilov was elected full member of the party Central Committee (1921-1961) and full member of the Orgburo (June 2, 1924 - Dec. 18, 1925). In 1925 after the death of Mikhail Frunze, Voroshilov was appointed people's commissar for military and navy affairs and chairman of the Revolutionary Military Council of the USSR (Nov. 6, 1925 - June 20, 1934). The Central Committee, elected at the 14th party congress, made him full member of the Politburo (Jan. 1, 1926 - Oct. 5, 1952). In 1934, Voroshilov was appointed people's commissar for defense (June 20, 1934 - May 7, 1940) and named a marshal of the Soviet Union (1935). He was removed from his post as defense commissar for serious faults in the Russo-Finnish war (1939-1940), but took the office of deputy chairman of the Council of People's Commissars (May 7, 1940 - March 15, 1946). During the World War II, Voroshilov was a member of the State Defense Committee (June 30, 1941 - Nov. 21, 1944). He was made commander of the northwest armies (July 10 - Aug. 31, 1941), but failed to prevent the Germans from blockading Leningrad. In 1945-47, acting as Stalin's representative, he supervised the establishment of the communist regime in Hungary in capacity of the chairman of the Allied Control Commission. In the course of reorganization of the people's commissariats into ministries, Voroshilov retained the post of deputy head of the Soviet government as deputy chairman of the Council of Ministers (March 19, 1946 - March 15, 1953).
On October 16, 1952, Voroshilov was appointed a member of the party Presidium (Oct. 16, 1952 - July 16, 1960). Stalin's death prompted a major rotation in the Soviet leadership and on March 15, 1953, Kliment Voroshilov left his office in the government and was approved as chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet. He signed the decree on amnesty that freed prisoners from the labor camps, but it affected only about one percent of the Gulag population. He sided with Georgy Malenkov and Nikita Khrushchev for arrest and condemnation of Lavrenty Beria (1953). Voroshilov feared exposing the executions of the Great Purge of the 1930s, in which he was personally involved, and opposed Khrushchev's initiative to make it known at the 20th party congress (1956). Then he joined the conservative members of the party's Presidium, Malenkov, Kaganovich and Molotov, in an unsuccessful attempt to remove Khrushchev from power (June 1957), but soon switched sides and supported Khrushchev. On May 7, 1960, the session of the Supreme Soviet granted Voroshilov's request for retirement and elected Leonid Brezhnev chairman of the Presidium. The Central Committee's plenum relieved him of duties of the Presidium member on July 16, 1960. In October 1961, his political defeat became complete when the 22nd party congress did not include his name in the election to the Central Committee. After the downfall of Khrushchev, Brezhnev returned Voroshilov into politics, mainly as a symbol of Soviet history. He was again elected to the Central Committee (1966-1969) and was awarded with the second medal of Hero of the Soviet Union (1968).