The Premier of the Soviet Union (Russian: Глава Правительства СССР) was the head of government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). The office had three different names throughout its existence: Chairman of the Council of People's Commissars (1923–1946), Chairman of the Council of Ministers (1946–1991) and Prime Minister of the Soviet Union (1991). The term premier was used by outside commentators to describe the office of head of government.
The first Soviet government was established on 6 July 1923. The government was empowered to initiate decrees and legislation that were binding throughout the USSR. After the ousting of Khrushchev in 1964, Kosygin was appointed head of government. However, Kosygin's prestige was weakened when he proposed the economic reform of 1965. Upon Valentin Pavlov's ascension to the premiership, the Council of Ministers was abolished and replaced with the Cabinet of Ministers. After the failed August coup of 1991 and the revelation that the majority of the cabinet members endorsed the coup, the Cabinet of Ministers was dissolved and replaced by the Committee on the Operational Management of the Soviet economy in 1991. The government of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic began seizing Soviet ministries in the aftermath of the coup, and by December 1991 the Soviet government had lost control.
Under the 1977 Soviet Constitution, the head of government was the leader of the highest executive and administrative organ of state. It functioned as the most influential office of government until the establishment of the Office of the President of the Soviet Union in 1990. The head of government was responsible and accountable to the Supreme Soviet (and its Presidium). The head of government was tasked with resolving all state administrative duties within the jurisdiction of the USSR to the degree which were not the responsibility of the Supreme Soviet or its Presidium. The head of government managed the national economy, formulated the five-year plans and ensured socio-cultural development.