Zavenyagin, Avraami Pavlovich

(1901–1956)
   As the director of many NKVD industrial programs, Zavenyagin was responsible for the construction of the massive Norilsk mining complex, as well as many of the facilities for the Soviet nuclear weapons program. In August 1945 he was one of six senior Communist Party and state officials mandated by Joseph Stalin to be responsible for the construction of nuclear weapons. He took part in negotiations with the Bulgarian government in 1945 to obtain uranium ore. In the late 1940s and early 1950s, he served as chief of the MGB’s directorate responsible for the nuclear weapons program. Following Stalin’s death in March 1953, he was appointed first deputy minister in the Ministry of Medium Machine Building, responsible for building and testing nuclear weapons. Zavenyagin died young. According to one history of the Soviet nuclear weapons program, he bravely and perhaps recklessly exposed himself to nuclear radiation in the building of the first Soviet nuclear weapons. Igor Kurchatov, the father of the Soviet bomb, also died young after being heavily exposed while working with Zavenyagin.

Historical dictionary of Russian and Soviet Intelligence. . 2014.

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