In the wake of Stalin's death, many Soviet scientists saw the opportunity to promote their methods as tools for the engineering of economic prosperity in the socialist state. The mathematician Leonid Kantorovich (1912–1986) was a key activist in academic politics that led to the increasing acceptance of what emerged as a new scientific persona in the Soviet Union. Rather than thinking of his work in terms of success or failure, we propose to see his career as exemplifying a distinct form of scholarship, as a partisan technocrat, characteristic of the Soviet system of knowledge production. Confronting the class of orthodox economists, many factors were at work, including Kantorovich's cautious character and his allies in the Academy of Sciences. Drawing on archival and oral sources, we demonstrate how Kantorovich, throughout his career, negotiated the relations between mathematics and economics, reinterpreted political and ideological frames, and reshaped the balance of power in the Soviet academic landscape.