Alexei Ivanovich Rykov (Russian: Алексе́й Ива́нович Ры́ков; IPA: [ɐlʲɪˈksʲej ɪˈvanəvʲɪtɕ ˈrɨkəf]; February 25th, 1881 – March 15th, 1938) was a Russian Bolshevik revolutionary and a Soviet politician most prominent as Premier of Russia and the Soviet Union from 1924 to 1929 and 1924 to 1930 respectively.
Rykov joined the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in 1898, and after it split into Bolshevik and Menshevik factions in 1903, he joined the Bolsheviks—led by Vladimir Lenin. He played an active part in the 1905 Russian Revolution. Months prior to the October Revolution of 1917, he became a member of the Petrograd and Moscow Soviets, and was elected to the Bolshevik Party Central Committee in July–August of the same year, during the Sixth Congress of the Bolshevik Party. Rykov, a moderate, often came into political conflict with Lenin and more radical Bolsheviks, but nonetheless proved influential when the October Revolution finally did overthrow the Russian Provisional Government, and as such served many roles in the new government, starting October–November (old style) as People's Commissar for Internal Affairs on the first roster of the Council of People's Commissars (Sovnarkom), which was chaired by Lenin.
During the Russian Civil War (1918–20), Rykov oversaw the implementation of the "War Communism" economic policy, and helped oversee the distribution of food to the Red Army and Navy.
After Lenin was incapacitated by his third stroke in March 1923 Rykov—along with Lev Kamenev — was elected by the Sovnarkom to serve as Deputy Chairman to Lenin. While both Rykov and Kamenev were Lenin's deputies, Kamenev was the acting Premier of the Soviet Union.
Lenin died from a fourth stroke on January 21st, 1924 and on February 2nd, Rykov was chosen by the Council of People's Commissars as Premier of both the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic and of the Soviet Union, which he served as until May 18th, 1929 and December 19th, 1930; respectively. Along with Nikolai Bukharin and Mikhail Tomsky, Rykov led the moderate wing of the Communist Party in the 1920s, promoting a partial restoration of the market economy under NEP policies. The moderates supported Joseph Stalin, Grigory Zinoviev, and Lev Kamenev against Leon Trotsky and the Left Opposition in 1923–24. After Trotsky's defeat and Stalin's break with Zinoviev and Kamenev in 1925, Rykov, Bukharin and Tomsky supported Stalin against the United Opposition of Trotsky, Zinoviev and Kamenev in 1926–27. After Kamenev voiced opposition to Stalin at the 14th Party Congress in December 1925, he lost his position as Chairman of the Soviet Council of Labor and Defense—which he had assumed from Lenin following Lenin's death—and was replaced by Rykov on 19 January 1926. On 19 December 1930, after admitting another round of "mistakes", he was replaced by Vyacheslav Molotov as both Soviet Premier and Chairman of the Council of Labor and Defense. Two days later, Rykov was expelled from the Politburo, taking with him any chance of political advancement.
From 1931-37 Rykov served as People's Commissar of Communications on the Council he formerly chaired. On February 17th, 1937 — at a meeting of the Central Committee — he was arrested with Nikolai Bukharin. On March 15th, 1938; both were found guilty of treason and executed.